JUBA, Feb. 28 — South Sudan has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to set up a legal framework for protection of internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Hussein Mar Nyot, minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management, said on Wednesday evening that South Sudan as a member state of the African Union (AU) is obliged to extract its own laws out of the union guiding principles that can govern and protect IDPs in the country.
“Because of this, we had a seminar to discuss the document with so many stakeholders, many institutions, and our partners from the UNHCR. We came up with a South Sudan legal framework for protection and assistance of internally displaced persons,” said Nyot.
He said the document is a very significant binding framework that will help the government safeguard equal rights to all citizens in regardless of their political affiliations amid political upheaval in the world’s newest nation that has uprooted civil population seeking refuge in a UN protection of civilian sites.
He said the government will fast track the process so that the act is enacted into law as soon as possible, saying despite the legal framework is not signed, the country is still committed to its mandate of protection, assistance to refugees and returnees.
UNHCR’s official Adan Ilmi said the UN agency is committed to supporting the government and the transitional national legislative assembly to adopt the document to become a law.
“For us as UNHCR we are here to support the government, especially the ministry of humanitarian affairs and also the parliament,” said Ilmi.
The signing of the pact took place after South Sudan announced a partnership with the East African Community to harmonize refugee policies and legislation aimed at strengthening the management of the refugee crisis in the region.
The UN says that South Sudan’s conflict which broke out in late 2013 has displaced some four million people, including more than 1.87 million who are internally displaced. – XINHUA