Refugees in Uganda want signatories to revitalized agreement to reach out to them

Kakuma Refugee Camp (File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

Kakuma Refugee Camp (Photo credit: File/Supplied/Nyamilepedia)

September 24th 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudanese refugees in the neighboring Uganda are demanding that the signatories to the revitalized peace agreement signed in September last year to reach out to them.

The Youth Social Advocacy Team (YSAT) under Network of South Sudan Civil Society Organizations in Uganda (NoSSCOU) organised one public dialogue in Rhino camp in Aura, refugee settlement with support from  Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) Refugee Stakeholders Debate under the theme, ‘’South Sudanese Refugees in Uganda as Active Citizens”.

The dialogue will provide a platform for discussing what can refugees do to contribute towards peacebuilding, reconciliation and civic-engagement both in their host countries and when they return home. 150 participants from youth leaders, youth led organizations, Refugee Welfare Leaders, Office of Prime Minister, Women Groups, Church and Cultural Leaders to elaborate more on the topic above

The Refugees’ leaders and organizations who gathered from various settlements for a community dialogue at the Refugee Welfare Council centre in Omugo, one of the zones in the Settlements, demanded to be assured by the main peace stakeholders, especially the party leaders, of their safety if they go home.

Peter Gatkuoth, a zone leader asked the organizers to invite the leaders of their country, particularly the ones who signed the Revitalized Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (RARCSS) to come and address them on the agreement. He told Jon Penn de Ngong, the main discussant on the RARCSS to answer some of their questions or pass them on the concerned parties.

The National Coordinator, Ter Manyang Gatwech and who is the Executive Director of the International Youth for Africa of the Network of South Sudanese Civil Society Organizations in Uganda call upon the South Sudan Government to mobilized resources for peace dissemination in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Central African Republic in order for South Sudanese refugees to “understand and own the peace agreement”

“We want to be assured of the commitment of our leaders on the implementation of this agreement by the leaders themselves, not you our fellow refugees.”

Said, a deputy RWC leader, clutching breastfeeding child, challenged the presenter to prove the viability of this peace while the conflict is raging on in her village, referring to the fighting around Yei River State between NAS and SSPDF forces.

“How sincere are you people to preach about a beautiful peace in this document while the actual war is going on in my village? Are you luring us back to the death trap again or what do you mean?” She asked.

While the peace is going on in the Settlements around northern Uganda and West Nile, refugees are pointing out the daily influx of new arrivals from the very villages they are being told to be repatriated to.

In a song performed by women and girls from Kakwa Traditional Dancers, the women are asking “Museveni to talk to Kiir Salva that we women are ready to go back to our homes”, but on condition that they’re free from rape, killing and violence. In a video recorded by NoSSCOU Information Secretariat, the dancers have posted a character in military uniform that keeps pulling young girls out of the line and descending on them with a long knife symbolizing throat-slitting or threat into raping.

Samuel Albino Simon, one of the community elders and Refugee Welfare Council leaders emphasized the need to have the RARCSS handbook distributed to help them explain the agreement to their communities. He also made a serious observation of the missing signatures of top world bodies, guarantors, and witnesses like TROIKA, AU, China, among others.

Many speakers during the day that kicked off with the Community Dialogue theme, “Building a shared South Sudan Identity”, asked repeatedly the reasons why Gen. Thomas Cirillo and other armed group that have signed the agreement are being ignored as they engaged in fighting instead of talking.

The workshop participants also expressed concerns that their voices do not reach the concerned parties of the agreement and world leaders on the conditions they are in and the threat of war back home.

The youth speakers demanded to know about the huge confusion on the funding of the implementation of the agreement, and where the refugees fall in terms of facilitation back home.  The facilitators addressed most of these questions in accordance with the RARCSS booklet.

The community leaders appreciated the facilitation offered by Konrad Adenaur Stifftung (KAS), a German foundation helping South Sudanese and Ugandans on civic education on peace and other aspects of the nation building.

The Network of South Sudanese Civil Society Organizations in Uganda is Network of more than 57 South Sudanese Civil Society Organizations working in Uganda.  The various South Sudanese civil society organizations in Uganda comprising  of women, youth, students, Civil Organizations, community and faith-based groups decide to devote our time and energies to campaigning for the respect of rule of law, justice and social justice, respect for human rights and democratic principles.

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