By Jok Madut Jok
South Sudanese activist Dr. Jok Madut Jok (JMJ) has criticized the government’s plan to lift people fleeing Sudan’s conflict to Juba, calling it a bad idea. Speaking out against Information Minister Michael Makuei Lueth, JMJ argues that those who have been displaced for many years have lost resources and social capital, and cannot be expected to fit back into social safety networks that no longer exist.
JMJ argues that the government is out of touch with the realities of the areas where these refugees fled from and that the degree of social disintegration in South Sudanese society makes it impossible to return refugees to their original villages. He warns that insisting on returning vulnerable people to their homes is calling for their death, and cites his 30 years of experience studying humanitarian situations like this as evidence.
As South Sudan continues to struggle with its own internal conflicts, JMJ’s warning raises questions about the feasibility of returning refugees to a country that has seen such widespread social and political upheaval. With no clear path forward, the fate of those fleeing Sudan’s war remains uncertain, and South Sudanese officials will have to carefully consider the best way to move forward.