OFFICE OF LOPIRIGO
FOR REFUGEES (UNHCR)
18 Prince Charles Drive
Oct 05, 2018(Nyamilepedia) —– The Ma’di people of Pageri County in Eastern Equatoria, South Sudan welcome the commitment of South Sudanese Leaders with the help of IGAD and TROIKA to revitalize the Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan and for having signed the Revitalized Agreement (R-ARCSS) on the 12th of September 2018.
We welcome the agreement’s admonition to the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) to expedite a dignified repatriation, rehabilitation, resettlement and reintegration of IDPs and returnees (Section 1.2.3) and to urgently address challenges of reconstruction, repatriation, resettlement, rehabilitation and reintegration of IDPs and returnees as critical factors affecting peace building (Section 1.20.7).
Furthermore the agreement also asserts “exercise of the right of refugees and IDPs to return to their places of origin and/or live in areas of their choice in safety and dignity” (section 22.214.171.124). It is on this premise that the office of the Lopirigo of Ma’di People would like to draw the attention of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and all international organizations involved in reintegration and repatriation of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and Returnees respectively to the plight of Ma’di people in Pageri County.
The plight of Ma’di people existed before the current conflict being resolved by the R-ARCSS; there are leftovers of SPLA soldiers after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 (CPA 2005) who are currently occupying lands of indigenous Ma’di people in Pageri County and turned it into their homes and grazing land for their cattle supported and protected by SPLA government soldiers; which is actually the main reason for conflict in our county that led to the fleeing of our people to Uganda for refuge. Currently the inhabitants of Pageri County are only few Ma’di people in Nimule, Mugali and Opari who did not seek refuge (and are living in fear). The other people who are now staying in Pageri county are the military and their families (There are eleven military garrisons in Pageri County alone namely- Kit, Ame Junction, Moli Tokoro, Au’efuni, Kerepi, Nyongwa, Pageri, Loa, Aswa, Melijo and Nimule), Dinka Cattle Keepers and those who are staying with the Occupation Populace for their personal interests.
Our people who crossed to refuge are awaiting resolution of the conflict in its totality when the Dinka Settlers leave our land.
We therefore kindly request UNHCR and International Humanitarian Agencies to:
- Ensure repatriation of IDPs currently in Ma’di land to their original places of origin prior to repatriation of our people from their refuge in Uganda and elsewhere back to Pageri County, to avoid further conflict and ensure viability of the peace agreement;
- Ensure that refugees in the neighboring countries (including Uganda) be verified prior to their return to Pageri county;
- We request that UNHCR employs competent officials from the indigenous people to verify and ascertain the identity of the returnees before they are repatriated back. This was done successfully by UNHCR in 1972 after the Anyanya war of 1964 to 1972. It is worth mentioning that lack of doing the same after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 led to the present situation.
We trust and expect that, UNHCR and all International Agencies will treat this matter with sensitivity and not let good intentions be commandeered by authorities in South Sudan for propagation of oppressive politics of land occupation by so-called IDPs in Pageri County.
Please accept my highest regards and complements;
Ambassador Angelo Voga Morgan
Lopirigo, Ma’di Community, South Sudan
Cc Office of the Prime Minister, Uganda
Cc UNHCR, South Sudan
Cc UNHCR, Kenya
Cc IGAD South Sudan Office (ISSO)
Cc Governor Torit State