By Deng Chol
A war between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) under General Abdel-Fattah Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) loyal to Mohamed Dagalo widely known as Hemedti began on 15 April 2023, with the fighting concentrated around the capital city of Khartoum and the Darfur region.
This civil war has displaced and forced thousands of Sudanese people to seek refuge in the neighboring countries of Egypt, Ethiopia, Chad and South Sudan.
We feel sorry for the Sudanese brothers and sisters who lost their loved ones and properties in the war. We the people of NBGs warmly welcome them to South Sudan as their second home till the conflict is resolved in the country and return back in peace.
However, as a citizen of South Sudan, I personally reject the decision made by the NBG state government to give permanent land to the Sudanese refugee based in Wedwiel, this is totally unacceptable and against the rights of the community.
It will also have an effect on the community in the future and as a member of Aweil West County community, I will not buy it.
On top of that, there are no international laws of refugees that give the right of land ownership to the refugees in every country all over the world. Similarly note that not all refugees enter a country under refugee status.
Refugee is a term that applies to all those who are forced to leave a country to go to another country seeking refuge due to war displacement and will return to their country when the conflict is resolved.
Additionally, being an official refugee is not the same as being an immigrant, an immigrant has permission to work or live a normal life to some extent. Depending on which countries and which particular refugee crises, there are a lot of restrictions put on refugees.
I am a South Sudanese, and I can say it is the only country I am qualified to have an opinion such as this.
I can’t say and I don’t care what other countries do. That is not my business. First of all, as much as I am pro-immigration, it is very important to understand that South Sudan does not owe anyone a place to live in except for her citizens. To come to our country and live, it is a privilege.
The safety and security of this country both physically and economically is of paramount importance and above all, the protection of our land, people and resources must be kept secure.
With immigration, I am absolutely in favor of it as long as the proper legal requirements are followed. We are a nation built on and by immigrants and with the exception of the indigenous Native South Sudanese, everyone here is because of Immigration.
And I feel our country can only benefit from people from all over the world becoming a part of our nation.
To other foreigners from our neighboring countries and across the world we welcome anyone to this country if they desire to come here for investment, but they must of it the right way.
This being said, I do feel we as a country have a responsibility to other human beings to help them when we can. We are all citizens of one race and that goes beyond borders. And in a true humanitarian crisis, we should be open to helping others when we can.
But we still have a country to protect, and it is not one bit unreasonable to require anyone who seeks asylum to be vetted first.
We have a right to know.
- Who they are?
- Where are they from?
- Where are they going?
- What are they going to do here?
- When are they leaving?
To blindly open the gate and let everyone just rush in and disperse as they please are not smart. A lot of people mean harm to our country, and they are not above going through some pretty low deeds to accomplish their goals.
So, if someone wants to come here, they need to register, have a background check be willing to report on a regular basis to an immigration officer as to where they are living, where they are working, what they are doing, and when their time is up, either get an extension, be given resident cards, become a citizen or go back to where they came from.
And if they fail to follow this procedure, they get sent back (deported) to where they came from. If anyone is not willing to do this, then they are denied admittance. Again, our country, our rules. We owe them nothing.
They have to follow our rules or stay where you are. I don’t think that is too much to ask. A good balance is needs to be found here.
Yes, we have a responsibility to other humans to help when we can. But we also have our own interests to protect.
So, a strict no one enters at all or an open everyone can come policy is not the answer. Somewhere in the middle, you can come, but you follow our rules and regulations. And always keep in mind we do not owe a thing to you.
You are a guest, and it is a privilege for you to come here. If you don’t like our rules, try finding another country that is willing to let you come in.
To the South Sudan immigration department, this is your main responsibility to observe properly our borders for those who are coming in either by road, air or other main of transport and now that our borders are wide open for all.
Many foreigners are coming in without proper documentation which is very dangerous to our country and our people especially the generations to come, I called upon you to properly do the screening for foreigners who are here without documents and see how they come in, and what are they doing.
As a South Sudanese, I come from Awiel West County of NGBs, part of the current community where the refugees are being accommodated. Therefore, I condemned the idea of giving refugees permanent residence (lands) in Wedwiel as this means they will be part of the community and South Sudan in the future.
We know that our Sudanese brothers were terribly forced by war to seek refuge in our country, and we didn’t reject them in fact we welcome them warmly but that doesn’t owe them the right to permanent residence (lands) but as refugees who will be returning their home country when the war is over, this idea is against the interest of Awiel community particularly and South Sudan at large. We will still help and support them when they need us the most in one way or another. To the NBG state government, this is a total negligence of community right to the land which I have totally condemned.
After the community has provided a space for the refugee camp to be located in Aweil. The United Nations ( UN ) International Organization for Immigration ( IOM ) and other international NGOs on humanitarian aid should now take responsibility for the refugees under the guidance of South Sudan refugees’ rules and regulations with international standard laws of immigration and refugees till the war is resolved in Sudan, we have also seen that a lot have countries and international communities have involved in the peace process in Sudan and we hope that a peaceful resolution is met as soon as possible between the two warring parties in Sudan so that mothers, children, and elders are returned back home to resume their normal life.
The writer is a concerned South Sudanese citizen and can be reached at email: email@example.comTell: +211 915101510