The United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency (UNHCR), has appealed to South Sudan's leaders to speed efforts to end what has become Africa's largest displacement crisis.
At a UN media briefing here, UNHCR spokesperson Charlie Yaxley said that exactly eight years ago South Sudan gained independence and became the world's youngest nation."Since then, the country has tragically seen more war than peace," he said Tuesday.
More than 2.3 million South Sudanese are currently living as refugees in neighboring countries, while 1.9 million have been internally displaced inside the country, said UNHCR.
The UN agency said that the Revitalised Peace Agreement, signed by the warring parties on September 12, 2018, established a foundation for peace.
"Progress has been made, but with key areas of tension still unresolved, peace is far from certain," said Yaxley.
UNHCR said it believes it is essential that representatives from the refugee and internally displaced communities are active and meaningful participants in the peace process.
"Any convincing agreement must include clear and transparent provisions for reconciliation," said the refugee agency.
Mechanisms for seeking justice must be precise, and they must be trusted it said, noting that many South Sudanese have been displaced repeatedly.
"Their faith in these processes is vital to their success," said UNHCR. Provisions must also be made for young people as the crisis has disproportionately impacted children, who make up nearly two-thirds of the refugee population.
"Ensuring that young South Sudanese - including refugees - have access to proper education and opportunities to fulfill their potential is essential if South Sudan is to become a prosperous and peaceful nation," said UNHCR. -Xinhua