Refugee representatives set to meet South Sudan peace talk parties

Uganda. South Sudanese Refugees

Recently arrived South Sudanese refugees wait to be registered at Kuluba collection point iin Northern Uganda, May 2017.  © UNHCR/Jiro Ose

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is (today) bringing South Sudan refugee representatives  face-to-face with the parties involved in key peace negotiations in Khartoum. This dialogue will  help ensure that  refugee voices continue to play a pivotal role in the revitalized peace effort to end the country’s devastating civil war.

Following the conclusion of “revitalized peace agreement negotiations” on August 30th, some 16 South Sudanese refugees across six countries will now sit down with all parties involved in the talks today (Tuesday Sep 4) in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum.  The refugees, who flew in from the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, to share their views, aspirations and expectations and to urge participants to find peace for the millions of South Sudanese, like themselves, whose lives have been uprooted by the conflict.

“The talks mark a significant moment in the long quest for lasting peace for the people of South Sudan,” said Arnauld Akodjenou, the Special Adviser to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on the South Sudan Situation. “It is critical to have refugee voices heard, peace building efforts cannot afford to ignore them.”

The current peace accord specifically calls for its dissemination to South Sudanese people inside the country and to refugees living in exile, so that the people most affected by the war, can understand, support and own the peace process.

“The refugee representatives in Khartoum will serve to remind the world of the human toll that continues every day there is not peace in South Sudan,” said Mr. Akodjenou. “But they can also become strong peace advocates by spreading the word to refugee communities where they live, or upon return to South Sudan if they voluntarily plan to do so.”

Since the start of the conflict in 2013, some 2.4 million people have fled South Sudan – the world’s youngest nation - as refugees and another 1.8 million are internally displaced inside the country. Civilians have fled extreme violence, human rights abuses and unimaginable levels of sufferings.

The Government of Sudan, and the East  African political body the Intergovernmental Authority on Development IGAD are helping UNHCR and partners in hosting the visiting refugee representatives.  

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