‘Go home, we will not fight again,’ so what?

By Chol Peter Majoh Mayen

On several occasions, Kiir and Machar have been equally calling the IDPs and refugees to return to their homes. This call has always been accompanied by the promise: “We will not fight again.”  During his visit to the PoCs in Juba, Dr. Machar reiterated that he and the president would not fight again and that the IDPs should go home. President Kiir, on the other hand, has also been singing this same song to the refugees and the IDPs. 

But before “go or come back home”, what has the government done in preparation for the repatriation of the IDPs and refugees back home? There should be some preparations set for them to come back. They can’t just be told today to come back and then they start walking back tomorrow, that’s impossible!

The government with its partners like United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), World Food Program (WTF), World Health Organization (WHO), International Organizations for Migration (IOM), and others, need to do something to help the IDPs and refugees come back. 

Remember these people, the refugees and the IDPs, did not leave anything behind when they fled.  Too, they do not have money to transport themselves back. And again, back home, there are no shelters, for their houses were burned down during the fighting and others got spoiled as no one renovates them while the owners stay in the camps. No food and many others. That means they need to be given money or vehicles for transport, food upon their arrival, and even iron sheets and cements to make their shelters with, and also tools for cultivation. In fact, rain season has commenced and we see nothing yet done for the IDPs as well as for the refugees to help them come back home to cultivate and to start new life again in their own country and to get prepared for the coming elections.

They (refugees and internally Displaced Persons) are war affected and they also deserve to be compensated. Their destroyed houses, shops- all properties, anyway, all loses incurred during the war, should they just go like that? But why?!

They didn’t choose to be displaced and the displacement was not a natural disaster, it was war that caused it. Therefore, they can’t just be called to just come back like that. There must be something done first before their repatriation.

You know, to come back is not easily. I tell you, it’s not an easy stuff. See, many of them have now settled in the camps; they have now established themselves there. Others have farms, have built huts where they shelter and take cover from rain and sunshine. Some got jobs with humanitarian organizations, others are teachers, and some have started small scale businesses. So, to unpreparedly repatriate them is or will be another displacement of the ready displaced persons. 

Dear government, before you call the IDPs as well as the refugees to come back home, you have a tremendous job to do. You need to think of their settlement first, because repatriation should not be another displacement. Instead, it has to be a resettlement. 

Furthermore, there’s a need to put compensation of these war-affected people into a very critical consideration. If I have not forgotten, this issue of compensation of the war victims was also recommended by the steering committee of the National dialogue in their submissions.

For peace to reign and what happened in twenty thirteen and sixteen (2013 & 2016) not to happen again, the government should do something for the refugees and the IDPs. These people are not only hungry, they are angry too. Their being displaced is not a good thing to them and they can’t forgive the government without the government having done something good for them.

As for that, dear government of the mighty Republic of South Sudan, you need to do something. You need to compensate all the war affected persons and make a great repatriation for them so that when they come, they won’t add to the already existing insecurity.

Believe me, any mistake in resettlement of these people may lead to another creation of insecurity. They can tend to carry robbery, raid, and create violence for their own survival if they are just brought and dumped. They need to come and get engaged and then be made happy to feel they have come back home and their home is truly a home different from the camp. They should come to start digging and carry our other economic activities. These can’t be possible without compensation or financial support from the government. Otherwise without that, it may be a different story and not a peaceful returning home. 

God bless South Sudan!

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