South Sudan must be a Safe Haven for Northern Sudanese Refugees

Posted: October 30, 2011 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Junub Sudan

Steve Paterno
The recent escalation of conflicts orchestrated by the regime in Khartoum against the people of bordering states of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, have yet added a catastrophic humanitarian crisis to an already perilous atmosphere. By comparison, Sudan was already leading the world, with the highest population of internally displaced persons. Unfortunately, the country seems to be taking pride in breaking its own record so that it remains featuring number one in the world as it continuous displacing its own citizens through the act of unnecessary wars.
With the eight year old war still raging in Darfur, which already resulted into displacement of millions, the recent conflicts in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, show stream flows of refugees fleeing their home areas; crossing into South Sudan and even as far as in Ethiopia, with many more people are trapped behind in a war zone under intense bombardments, where they are left without access to any humanitarian assistance.
Experts as well as humanitarian agencies are sounding alarms of more calamities to follow in the near future, especially in the upcoming dry season, which will likely witness increase on ground offensive, supplemented by massive air bombardments against targets in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. In such an event, many people in these regions will be affected and forced to seek safety, shelter, food and basic social services outside their current harsh environment. South Sudan as a sovereign neighboring country presents fertile ground for a place to be for those negatively impacted by this onslaught.
Therefore, South Sudanese authorities along with humanitarian agencies must urgently devise strategies so as not only to welcome and settle refugees within South Sudan territorial integrity, but to also encourage free flow of refugees into the neutral South Sudanese zones for their safe upkeeping. By allowing settlement of refugees within South Sudan, all the parties involved that include the South Sudanese, humanitarian agencies and the refugees are stand to mutually benefit.
First, as a newly established state, South Sudan will boost its national status and prestige among the nations of the world by joining the club of refugees hosting countries. This gesture will go along way in fulfilling South Sudan’s moral and international obligations as the world’s member state that contribute positively to the advancement of humanity. Another added advantages is that, as a result of hosting refugees within its boundaries, qualify South Sudanese will gain employment opportunities and skills with humanitarian agencies that will be delivering services to these refugees. South Sudan as a whole will also benefit from the infrastructures such as roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals, constructed to cater for the refugees. The advantages are pretty great, including the fact that South Sudan government will have leverage and influence over Khartoum’s affairs, since the country will be hosting significant population of Northern Sudanese who are in essence oppose to the regime in Khartoum and are natural allies of South Sudan. This will eventually lead into peaceful settlement of these conflict as well as ease hostilities between South and North of Sudans, unless the regime in Khartoum desires to continue with aggressive posturing.
Second, the humanitarian agencies will end up operating under much more hospitable conditions within South Sudan. These agencies will encounter limited restrictions on their movements and be able to cover more ground in their operations to reach those in need of assistance. By operating within South Sudan, humanitarian personnel will be less susceptible to intimidation, kidnapping or getting killed while on duty. In short, the humanitarian agencies will be in better positions to deliver optimum services to their capacities.
Third, by fleeing and settling in South Sudan, the refugees from these marginalized sections of North Sudan will finally breathe a sigh of relief. They will not have to constantly worry dodging bullets and taking covers from falling bombs. They will be able to gain access to food, shelter and basic services. These marginalized people will once again acquire back their human worth and dignity. They will have hopes for the future and plans for leading normal life of freedom, peace and prosperity.

In conclusions, the South Sudanese authorities, the humanitarian agencies, and the potential refugees must make this a practical reality. The South Sudanese authorities must work in creating conducive atmosphere for hosting those who are in need. Humanitarian agencies must develop contingency plans for possibly servicing large scale refugees; settlement in South Sudan. And for those affected by Khartoum’s orchestrated crisis, they must make a run for it by literally escape across into South Sudan for safety.

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