Over 3,500 people displaced by violence in South Sudan have been relocated from a UN-run camp in the capital, Juba, to new housing, the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has revealed.
UNMISS reported that the internally displaced people, who were living at a UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site, had been moved to a new location at Mangateen, near the central part of the city.
“This is the first movement of displaced people of this magnitude out of the UN Juba protection site. Almost all of those relocated were women and children.
“They had expressed a strong desire to leave the UN site and to be reunited with their husbands and other family members.
“Early indications and, in my discussions with those who moved, is that they are pleased to be back in the wider community,” said David Shearer, the Head of UNMISS.
Shearer said the UN mission and humanitarian agencies carried out the relocation after negotiating an end to clashes between various groups in the camp which were posing a threat to those living there.
He said once a resolution to the “sporadic fighting” was reached, and people expressed their desire to leave the protection camp, UNMISS and its partners worked quickly to establish the temporary housing at the Mangateen site.
He said the victims were given access to clean water, sanitation and health services at the new location.
Shearer, who is also Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, said the facility traditionally had been managed by South Sudan’s Relief and Rehabilitation Commission.
The government body will continue to be in charge of the site, though aid agencies will provide additional assistance on request, he explained.
South Sudan is the world’s youngest country, having gained independence in July 2011.
However, most of the years since then have been marred by brutal fighting and human rights violations, forcing the displacement of more than four million people, either within the country or across the border.
Nearly 200,000 are currently sheltering in PoC sites at six UNMISS bases nationwide, according to the UNMISS chief.
“Hundreds of thousands of people fled to UN protection sites across South Sudan out of fear for their lives during the on-going conflict. But these camps are not a good long-term option for families.
“If people have the trust and confidence that the environment is safe enough for them to voluntarily return home, UNMISS is poised to assist them.
“But providing that confidence in the security situation very much lies with the Government,” Shearer stated.