Even in camps, South Sudan’s Refugees encouraged to unite for peace
As the number of South Sudanese seeking safety in Uganda clocks nearly 100 thousand, according to UNHCR estimates, concerns are mounting about the continued strained relations between the South Sudanese refugee seeking safety in Uganda.
The Coordinator of the Transitional Justice working group, Mr. Amanya Joseph, told Miraya Breakfast Show, that the set-up of refugee camps across the east African region has largely been on tribal basis, with no opportunity for people to interact with each other, understand each other’s culture and even engage each other as south Sudanese.
“We have witnessed in several camps in Adjumani, Uganda, that the refugees still identify themselves on tribal basis. They are still staying as Dinka and Nuer and there is no interaction,” said Amanya.
The disjointed relations between South Sudanese refugees are aggravated by suspicion and doubt, as Amanya noticed, “Everybody is living with suspicion, it is like the other person is looking at the other one as an enemy and with doubt.”
Building on these concerns, a group of civil society activists arrived in Uganda early this week, to find ways of reconstructing relations between the South Sudan refugee communities, through dialogue.
Amanya said the dialogue campaigns are designed to counter the tribal hatred and to rally members of the refugee communities for peace.
“In the nearest future, they will be the ones to go and tell people that it is better to live as South Sudanese, it is better to live as one people, we have got this experience when we lived in the camp, we are one people, and we are one citizen in South Sudan.”
It all begins with healing
Besides encouraging dialogue for peace, the Transitional Justice working Group is working with the refugee law project in Uganda, to explore ways to provide psycho-social support for the refugees, because healing is essential for any process of reconciliation to begin.
“It is very much important to first of all engage them and train them in psycho – social initiatives, so that they get healed, then in the process of healing, they will be able to interact,” said Amanya.
According to Amanya, South Sudanese refugees the group has met in Uganda are; “do you think there will be peace in South Sudan? Do you think that we shall ever stay as one people again?
Amanya Joseph, spoke with Miraya Breakfast show and begins by explaining the kind of refugees that have sought shelter and safety in Uganda.