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Gesture of goodwill; Refugees to get permanent plots

By Mamer Abraham

Northern Bahr El Ghazal State of South Sudan has introduced a policy, allowing Sudanese refugees to receive free, permanent land at Wedwiel Settlement in Aweil West County.

Dominic Kang Deng, the state minister for housing, land, and public utilities told journalists on Thursday.

He said that the ministry has current allotted land to refugees, with plans underway for each family to receive a 400 square-meter piece of land that will be theirs forever.

“You see, as the policy of the ministry of housing, we allocated for them land 20 by 20; and even now we are processing for them a document. You see everybody should be having his own document and a plot 20 by 20,” he explained.

“They can cultivate some vegetables for them and also, they can continue their daily life with the residents of that area. And this land will belong to them forever.”

Kang stated that his ministry was preparing documents for the pieces of land to be given to the Sudanese refugees so that whenever they wanted to return to Sudan, they would be free and whenever they wanted to return to Aweil, the land would still be there as theirs.

Kang stated that his ministry is preparing documents for the refugees to receive land to ensure freedom of movement and ownership.

“If later on somebody thinks that I want to go back, yeah, they are highly welcome, and the plot will also remain as his property, as her property without any problem. This is the policy now we are doing to them.”

Over 9000 refugees currently settled at Wedwiel refugee settlement live on 1,500 acres of land given to them by the state government. The minister said the camp would accommodate approximately 30,000 refugees.

The Minister noted differences in cultures and norms between locals and the predominantly Muslim refugees, stating that the state has requested UNMISS to conduct a workshop for refugees, focusing on peaceful coexistence and establishing a separate court for their issues.

On Wednesday, Julius Taban Philip, the assistant commissioner for refugees stated that there were a number of funding-related challenges that faced the UNHCR and the refugees living in the Wedwiel refugee settlement.

He categorically mentioned that the food given to the refugees was not enough and called for support from the well-wishers.

Last month, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees called for a funding of $1 billion to address the humanitarian crisis posed by the conflict in Sudan.

He stated that a funding of over $300 million would address the humanitarian crisis across South Sudan.

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