UNHCR re-opens Torit field office to support returnees
have today Friday officially reopened its field office in Torit of South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria State with the government calling on the body to support the returning population in the State with basic services
The Governor of Eastern Equatoria State, Gen. Louis Lobong Lojore, UNHCR Representative in South Sudan, Arafat Jamal, and Ambassador Mohammed Affey, UNHCR Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa were present.
According to UNHCR and local authorities, Torit has seen significant numbers of South Sudanese refugees returning home spontaneously.
Mohamed Abdi Affey, the UNHCR Special Envoy said in the horn of Africa says there is a need to keep peace and durable and sustainable solutions for returnees.
“I’m very glad to be here and to join my colleagues to reopen our office. We are very cognizant of the fact that people are coming back home and they are coming voluntarily and they are coming back into an environment and situation in which you have challenges trying to help them,” he said. “….And for that matter, we have undertaken a process we call the durable solution strategy for the return and the reintegration of South Sudanese back into their homes.”
UNHCR country director, Arafat Jamal, says it is encouraging to see refugees voluntarily return home to participate in rebuilding the nation.
“What we are seeing is the people have returned on their own and have returned on their own we honor their choice to return. We have to encourage it and we recognize it in one thing. It is their investment in the future of South Sudan,” he said.
For his part, Eastern Equatoria State governor Louis Lobong Lojore promised to work with humanitarian agencies to support the returnee population rebuild their lives.
“I want to join the people and government of Eastern Equatoria to UNHCR to say congratulation and you are welcome again up to Torit to join hands together with us to provide the basic services that are needed for the returnees,” he said.
According to UNHCR, the Torit office will serve as a hub for its inter-agency support to building peace, development, and solutions with the people and government of South Sudan. Its re-establishment is part of the Pockets of Hope strategy, an area-based approach that honors the decisions of those choosing to return, and works to better futures in line with the needs and wishes of the communities themselves.
The State Relief and Rehabilitation Commission says they have registered more than 100,000 returnees from neighboring countries.