4 December 2012

Sudan: South Sudanese Returnees From Israel Say They Suffer Economic Hardship

Juba — Representatives of South Sudanese who have returned from Israel a few months ago have appealed to the government to help them reintegrate into the society by alleviating their economic hardship.

Over 1,100 South Sudanese were reluctantly returned from Israel this year in an operation which was similar to a deportation by the Israeli government. Majority of them found their way illegally into Israel through Egypt over the years. The Israeli government refused to recognize their permanent residence status in their country.

In their meeting on Tuesday with the South Sudan's Vice-president, Riek Machar Teny, the delegation led by Atem Aher Madit, expressed the need to economically empower them in order to successfully resettle in the home country.

Atem said since their return from Israel the government has not addressed how they should cope with the economic situation in the country by providing either temporary assistance or employment even in the states.

The delegation appealed to the leadership to help provide employment to their members in both public and private sectors. They also have a number of university students who obtained scholarships from certain Israeli universities but were also deported and are now in need of student visas in order to complete their studies in Israel.

During the returning process to South Sudan Atem said they had expected to be provided with some sort of assistance to help them resettle but that has not materialized.

The group is establishing a center which is known as Ramciel and Jerusalem Friendship Center (RJFC) which will serve as a coordinating point for facilitation and social interaction and to help promote good relationship with the people of Israel. They also requested for a piece of land in Juba on which they want to establish their center.

The returnees also plan to organize a thanksgiving celebration in Juba for appreciating their safe return to South Sudan after attaining the independence.

Governments of South Sudan and Israel have also agreed in principle to establish a Hebrew international school in Ramciel where the returned children who have begun their education in Hebrew language in Israel can continue to study the language.

An agricultural cooperative society was also planned for establishment to accompany the school project and help raise income for the parents of the children.

The Vice President told them that their concerns will be addressed through the relevant institutions and level of government.

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