‘We are unsafe to return home’: South Sudan refugees in Kenya reject gov’t call
South Sudanese refugees in Kenya on Tuesday expressed their strong rejection to call by President Salva Kiir Mayardit and First Vice President Riek Machar Teny on the displaced persons to return to their homes, saying the situation in the world’s youngest country is still unsafe for return.
JUBA, MARCH 4, 2023 (SUDANS POST) – South Sudanese refugees in Kenya on Tuesday expressed their strong rejection to call by President Salva Kiir Mayardit and First Vice President Riek Machar Teny on the displaced persons to return to their homes, saying the situation in the world’s youngest country is still unsafe for return.
Last week, First Vice President Machar called on internally displaced person at a former UN camp in Juba to return to their homes and promised that the unified forces which was graduated late last year was going to be deployed in two weeks’ time.
President Kiir also a week earlier had called on refugees and the IDPs to return to the country and promised plots of land for those willing to live in the country’s capital Juba.
In response, the Bentiu Community in Kenya, one of the South Sudanese refugee communities in the East African country, refused the calls for return to the country saying displaced people are unsafe to return to the country.
“We, write to oppose the empty message being preached or propagated by the President, Salva Kiir Mayardit and the First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny telling the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) and refugees to leave the UN camps and the Protection of Civilian sites and go back home. The duo has held two separate and public gatherings in Juba in which they instructed the IDPs to go back to their homes,” the statement signed by Bentiu Community Leader in Kenya Dak Buoth reads in parts.
“This rhetorical message of encouraging the IDPs to return homes without anything at hand is similar to forcing them out of the POCs. Hence, they should be discouraged forthwith by all persons of good-will and the human rights agencies that are charged with the responsibility to protect the IDPs,” the statement added.
The statement said that “The process of making the IDPs return home should be made gradual and voluntary. Further, the process should be devoid of political gimmicks. Moreover, the process of repatriating or returning the displaced persons, should be made attractive by way of arresting the rampant cases of insecurity especially in the volatile states such as Unity State, Upper Nile State, and Eastern Equatoria State to mention but a few.
“Surprisingly, the manner in which the President and the First Vice President are communicating the message to the IDPs is coercive, and thus they are against the UN policy of repatriating the refugees and the internally displaced persons worldwide.
“The President and First Vice President Should demonstrate utmost sincerity and seriousness of their government by first protecting and securing the wailing South Sudanese population that are still residing in the states.
“We know there is no peace in the country. The agreement alias R-ARCISS has become a deal meant for our people to die of hunger, because it could not make our people resettle and cultivate around their homes due to the recurring insecurity perpetuated by the marauding forces and factions affiliated to the South Sudan People Defense forces (SSPDF).
“The temporary absence of violence in the city of Juba does not mean peace. That is why the President cannot go physically to visit the IDP camps due to fear of unknown.
“Finally, The First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar Teny has no moral authority to talk and persuade the impoverished and the internally displaced people to return home when he is under-house arrest by virtue that he cannot travel outside the capital, Juba.
“Instead, the First Vice President and his surrogates should fight for his personal freedom of movement so that he can travel freely in and outside the country.”
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