25th November 2020
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IDPs refuse to be ‘handed over to the same police that displaced them’

Author: Woja Emmanuel | Published: Thursday, November 19, 2020

UN Peacekeepers guard as IDPs walk freely at a POC site | File photo

The internally displaced persons at the UN Protection of the Civilians sites in Juba have expressed their concerns over their safety after the UN announced it had handed over the camp to the government.

On Wednesday, the head of the UN Mission in South Sudan declared that they have officially handed over the control of the POC sites in Juba to the government.

David Shearer also stated that the sites have now been transformed into an Internally Displaced Person’s camp.

It shall be managed by the government with the local communities within the camp.

Shearer revealed that the decision was arrived at in consultation with several stakeholders including the security and the local communities.

He, however, clarified that the camp in Juba will not be closed down as UNMISS hopes –with time– the residents will voluntarily and safely return to their homes.

But the decision has so far been met with mixed reactions from those living inside the UN camp.

Some community leaders who spoke to Eye Radio on alleged that the decision was taken by UNMISS without consulting them.

“If the peace deal is not being implemented, IPDs have reservations on the decision, because we are fearing the so-called unknown gunmen,” said Tab Lual, former chairperson of the POC Site 3 in Juba.

“We are also afraid because of what happened in 2013. You cannot be handed over to the same police that displaced you from your house in 2013 and made you a displaced for 7 years.”

In September, the UN Mission in South Sudan said it had begun withdrawing its troops from Protection of Civilians in Bor and Wau, leaving them under the jurisdiction of the government.

The transition, it said, is to allow the government to take the primary responsibility for protecting all its citizens living in the former PoC sites.

“That is a negative step because David Shearer did not sit with his administration to see what will be the reaction when government police take over,” Majok Yen, community leader, told Eye Radio.

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