XINHUA 10 MAR 2020
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office here said on Tuesday that it will support the voluntary repatriation of South Sudan refugees in Uganda once conditions are conducive following the formation of the transition unity government in their country.
Duniya Aslam Khan, UNHCR spokesperson for Uganda, told Xinhua that the refugee agency will assist Uganda and South Sudan to repatriate over 800,000 refugees once conditions are conducive for the exercise.
“At present, UNHCR is not promoting nor facilitating any organized returns to South Sudan,” said Khan.
“However we stand ready to support and assist the governments of Uganda and South Sudan when conditions are conductive for a voluntary, free and full informed repatriation,” she said.
The UN estimates that about four million South Sudanese have been displaced internally and externally as a result of the civil war that began in December 2013. Uganda hosts 867,000 over South Sudan refugees, according to UNHCR figures.
The Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity was formed after President Salva Kiir swore in former opposition and rebel leader, Riek Machar as the country’s First Vice President on Feb. 22.
“UNHCR welcomes the formation of a long-awaited unity government in South Sudan, bringing political rivals together to work for lasting peace,” said Khan.
South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011, has been suffering a civil war since late 2013 following Kiir’s dismissal of Machar.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 collapsed following renewed violence in the capital, Juba in July 2016.