Opinion: Handing over of the protection of civilians sites is premature!

By Simon Geah,

Sep 13, 2020(Nyamilepedia) —  Last week, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), announced the handover of some of the Protection of Civilians Sites in South Sudan to the government. This started with the withdrawal of its troops from both Bor and Wau bases respectively. The UN body argues that the situation in the country has improved significantly. Therefore, they are handing over the duties attached to them by the international community to the government of South Sudan. However, how certain is the UN body saying that? What evidence does the UNMISS have showings that the civilians will be safe in the hand of the government?

UNMISS Peacekeepers (File photo)

UNMISS Peacekeepers (File photo)

As history seem to errors itself so quickly, one should ask himself these questions: 

  • Who were the IDPs running away from?
  • Who forced them to seek refuge in the UN?
  • Is the problem that forced them away from their homes being resolved?

I am absolutely sure, we all know the answers for all these questions. 90% of all the IDPs ran to POCs because of the brutality of the government agencies. Though the peace has come, this does not guarantee a trust between the IDPs and those who forced them out from their houses. This is because modalities that should reconcile the civilians and the government are not being implemented yet. Yes,  there are significant signs showing that the country is leaning towards it’s normality, but does this mean the time has come for the IDPs to live friendly with the government? No!

 This analysis kindly disagrees with this move. It’s not the right time to handover the IDPs to the government because of the following reasons:

First, the South Sudan government is the frame reason why those IDPs are in the UN protections. They ran to the camps because of the fear from the government. Once the war started, those individuals were innocently sitting in their houses with no knowledge of what was going on in the government. But once the government failed to settle their problem politically, they turned their frustrations on the innocent civilians, particularly within Juba. Forcing many of them to seek protections within the UN. Their houses are occupied by the government agencies, who are still occupying them until now. They are the same people who were targeted by the same government which is now claiming to be their protector. Second, the agencies who were targeting them are still in their positions as before, (the army). The same guns that were used for killing them are still in the hands of those who forced them to seek protections. The agreement required the demilitarization of all the major cities in the country which is not being implemented yet. Which makes the IDPs feel suspicious of why not?

How are these antagonists going to trust each other? The UN should have answered that question first before continuing with the handover. 

Thirdly, the problem that forced the IDPs to leave their houses has not yet been resolved. There are no modalities that should act as a reconciliatory mechanisms between the two former enemies to co-exists, because of the failure in the implementation of the peace agreement.

 These modalities include the establishment of “Commission for Trust, Reconciliation and Healing” (CTRH), as stipulated in article 5.1.1.1 of the agreement. Which is equally tasked to oversee and facilitate all the procedures of reconciliation between the victims and culprits. These tasks include “repatriation” and resettlement procedures, compensations and finally reconciliation.

Is this institution in place now? No!

This is why it’s premature to handover the Protection of Civilians Sites to the government. If the government truly believes that the situation has improved in the country, then there is no need for POCs anymore. They should just declare the repatriation of IDPs and everyone must go back to his/her house. But they will never do that because there are some individuals who do not want the IDPs to return to their houses. Such as those who occupied the houses of the IDPs. If the government truly wanted to assume the protection of the civilians, no one would have a problem with that but they need to reconcile first. There must be promised trust between the two to co-exists friendly.

I wish you all the best!

The writer is a concerned citizen of South Sudan. He is an independent Political Analyst. You can reach him, at simon.geah@yahoo.com,


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