UNHCR trains Government officials on Human Rights and Refugee Protection
The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR in cooperation with the Commission for Refugee Affairs (CRA), organised in Juba a two-day workshop with government officials in a bid to sensitise them on human rights and refugee protection. The 45 participants included representatives of the local Governments, County Commissioners, law enforcement authorities from the police and immigration, national security services, judiciary, the Human Rights Commission, CRA and UNHCR field offices.
The workshop brought together, likely for the first time, these high level government officials who constructively exchanged ideas and views which can hopefully address relevant issues especially at the refugee camp level.
It aimed at strengthening their knowledge and awareness further on the fundamentals of refugee protection, documentation issued to asylum-seekers/refugees, detention, court practices in South Sudan and others which impact the lives of refugees who are temporarily present in the country.
UNHCR has applauded the Open Door policy of the Government of South Sudan for refugees. Being at the helm of protecting refugees in the country, national authorities need to be effective in their responses to concerns that arise. It is hoped that the workshop have further equipped the participants in developing action plans that are in line with relevant international norms and standards, in particular, for ensuring the civilian and humanitarian character of refugee camps as well humanitarian settlements, and enhancing the rule of law in the latter.
The commitment to refugee protection is based on principles underpinning the 1969 Organisation of African Union (OAU) Convention, to which South Sudan is a signatory, as well as 1951 UN Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol.
“Protection of refugees is primarily the responsibility of states. This notwithstanding, UNHCR has supported and cooperated closely with states as partners in carrying out refugee protection. South Sudan is always responsive in carrying out its obligations on refugee protection”, said Maria Corinna Miguel-Quicho, UNHCR Assistant Representative for Protection in South Sudan.
It is hoped that the learning, sharing, and networking that took place during the workshop will contribute to enhancing protection of asylum-seekers and refugees residing in camp and urban locations in South Sudan.
UNHCR works with the Government of South Sudan and its partners in providing protection and assistance to over 270,000 refugees in Greater Upper Nile and Greater Equatoria. It is also part of the inter-agency response to the needs of nearly 2 million internally displaced people in the country.
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Photo Credit and caption: ©UNHCR/Richard Lou-Angelous – 45 participants of the two-day workshop at Juba Grand Hotel in Juba