A former UN Special Rapporteur on Internally Displaced Persons is urging the unity government to table before the national parliament the drafted bill on the IDPs.
Between 2018 and 2019, Prof. Chaloka Beyani supported the government to draft a bill on Internal Displaced Persons in South Sudan.
The bill states the government approach on the protection of displaced persons across the country.
It also provides for a society approach to durable solution and provision of a framework on protection and assistance for IDPs within South Sudan.
Days ago, the UN Refugee Agency – UNHCR engaged the lawmakers on the advantages of domestication of the Kampala convention.
The African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa known as as the Kampala Convention calls on the member states to refrain from, prohibit and prevent arbitrary displacement of populations.
It also discourages political, social, cultural and economic exclusion and marginalization that are likely to cause displacement of populations or persons by virtue of their social identity, religion or political opinion.
In recent days, lawmakers discussed issues related to the Convention on Statelessness and the South Sudan Durable Solutions Strategy for Displacement.
During the deliberation, the visiting former UN Special Rapporteur on IDPs and Member of UN High level Mission to Libya praised efforts by South Sudan authorities in restoring peace in the country.
“Tremendous efforts have been made to build peace, consolidate peace within South Sudan through the revitalized peace agreement, the reconstitution of the government, the transitional parliament itself,” Prof. Chaloka Beyani said.
However, the expert urged the unity government to pass the IDPs bill to ensure full protection of the displaced persons.
“The bill is indeed their tool that helps them to restore their rights, to restore their livelihoods as South Sudanese citizens and to be able to resume those livelihoods again.”
Meanwhile, the UNHCR Assistant Representative on IDPs Protection in South Sudan said having such laws will help the government to have a clear responsibility and coordination mechanisms on issues related to IDPs.
“We say if you have a law, the rights of IDPs become clear for government officials. You will see a clear coordination mechanism so that there won’t be confusion among different ministries and between central government and county level or state level,” Allehone Abebe said.
“So as we struggle to respond to ongoing emergencies in South Sudan or any other places, it is very important to have these legislations because they really provide long term solutions, early warning systems,” he added.
For his part, the Chairperson for Legislation and Justice Committee at the reconstituted TNLA, Hon. James Mabor assured the refuge agency of their commitment to enact the law.
“When their bills come to us in the assembly, for sure we will work to see that they are passed and also budgeted for in the implementation.”
According to UNHCR, South Sudan hosts some 330,000 refugees and asylum-seekers mainly from Sudan.
The Country also has 2 million internally displaced persons due to conflict, insecurity and the impact of climate change.
The agency adds that over 500,000 South Sudanese refugees have returned to the country since the signing of the Revitalized Peace Agreement in 2018.