South Sudan: Refugees shouldn’t be lured home
By Tor Madira Machier
October 2nd 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – A number of international organizations including the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have – on several occasions – stated that the situation in the world’s youngest nation was improving as a result of the revitalized peace agreement signed last year in Addis Ababa by President Salva Kiir Mayardit and his former deputy, turned rebel-leader, Dr. Riek Machar.
Based on the assertion that fighting has subsided, the government in Juba have since
uttered calls for refugees – most of them in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan – to
return to the war-torn country in a bid to prove to the world that the situation in the
country has improved and that statements by senior UN officials supporting this are
However, the situation in the country tells the opposite. The fighting – as a matter of
fact – have subsided – but the war is not over yet. There are currently concerns over
lack of will by the government in Juba and other signatories to the agreement to fully
implement the provisions of the revitalized peace deal.
The government – in particular – is not doing what is needed to prepare the country
for the thirty-six months transitional period and President Salva Kiir has threatened
to form the unity government without Dr. Riek who is a key figure in the 2018 peace
There is likelihood that a scenario similar to that of 2016 will take place again if the
parties form the government without solving the dispute on the number of states and
The government wants millions in exile to return to the country so that it can
convince the world that peace has returned when actually it is preparing for
escalation with opposition groups whose demands includes the reopening of the
revitalized peace agreement for renegotiation, something the government said it will
resist at the highest cost.
Before the refugees in neighboring countries return home, there is a need for the
government to do what is needed on this matter.
The government must first sit with
opposition groups which are signatories to the agreement and decide on the states professional national army and then launch talks with holdout opposition groups.
In doing so, the government would have created an atmosphere of trust and
confidence which will be a suggestion that peace is returning to South Sudan and
then the people, without being urged, will return home on a voluntary basis other
than being lured in before another escalation.
Tor Madira Machier is a Journalist and can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org