The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management has urged urban refugees to acquire legal papers in order to legitimize their stay in South Sudan.
There are a number of foreign nationals who left their countries for economic reasons, while others escaped persecution, or forced to flee from their homes by conflict and war.
South Sudan hosts refugees from Sudan in the northern part of the country -near Maban, while Congolese nationals have sought refuge in areas of Yei River state.
However, there is an unknown number of refugees from the neighboring countries living within towns such as Juba, Wau, Malakal, Torit, Kapoeta, Bor, Awiel, among others. Most of them are engaged in commercial activities.
But recently, the Minister of Interior said some South Sudanese police officers were colluding with foreign nationals to acquire South Sudanese passports and IDs.
Similarly, in March, a 42 year old woman of a foreign descent was apprehended by the Ugandan police at Elegu -near Nimule -check point with an assortment of hand grenades, loose ammunitions, and PKM ammunitions.
“My advice to the refugees is that never accept to be dragged into those groups, get your identifications,” said Hussein Maar during the World Refugee Day, 20 June, celebrations in Juba.
He cautioned foreign nationals against breaking the laws of South Sudan saying “people think that with one robbery, I can be better off, but it leads to loss of lives and pu the lives of others at risk too.”
Hussein urged those living in urban centers to seek proper registration papers so that their rights are upheld.
“If you get our little hospitality, please accept our offer and do other better things,” he said.
The UNHCR Representative to South Sudan – Johann Siffointe said South Sudan has experienced great improvement in regards to hosting asylum seekers and refugees despite going through the toughest 5 years of conflict and economic meltdown.
“UNHCR would like to congratulate the government for the historical steps it has taken to increase protection for refugees despite all the challenges it faced, negotiating and implementing a complex peace agreement,” Mr. Siffointe said.
John Okwom Agada, an Ethiopian urban refugee from Gambella, who has lived in South Sudan since 2007 called on others to explore the limited opportunities that South Sudan offers.
“I have been studying here for a long time and I have achieved some level of education. I want to argue my fellow refugees to keep their hopes alive and study hard for a better future when they return,” he said.
World Refugee day was first celebrated on June 20, 2001 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the 1951 Convection Relating to the Status of Refugees.
Countries celebrate refugees’ contributions and seek to build empathy and understanding for their plight and their resilience to build a bright future.
Meanwhile, South Sudan has deposited the instrument of the ratification of the 2019 African Union Kampala Convention of Internally Displaced.
The ratification endorses the protection of returnees and Internally Displaced Persons by the government.
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