Neglected Refugees of South Sudan and Bonds Linking the UK: Animists, Christians, and Economic Migrants
Lielit Kebede, Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
In South Sudan, the mainly Animist and Christian civilian population are in dire need of economic and international support. Unlike mainly male economic migrants reaching Europe who insist on residing in nations like Germany, the poor in South Sudan are only just surviving. This is based on the tragic consequences linked to war and the natural environment. Therefore, it is the invisible people in nations like South Sudan that need international support and the possibility of a fresh life in Europe. At the same time, the colonial legacy of the United Kingdom and the shared civilization that links the Church of England means that assimilation is extremely achievable.
Of course, certain refugees including Middle East Christians, Muslim Alawites, Shabaks, the Yazidis, and the mainly Muslim Kurds that have no homeland, need to be given priority. Similarly, the embattled Christians and Hindus of Pakistan suffer intolerable institutional discrimination and endless day-to-day persecution. Despite this, daily images show mainly male economic migrants flocking to Europe and this is extremely detrimental to genuine refugees who need international support.
The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) stated that a “concrete risk of famine occurring between October and December” is a distant possibility if the international community doesn’t step in. Also, the IPC needs full access to the worse hit parts of South Sudan. This notably applies to the areas of Unity State, Jonglei and Upper Nile that have been hit the hardest.
Accordingly, the IPC in late 2015 reported on the severity of the situation and how many civilians are being failed by international projects. The ICP, therefore, states categorically that “There is a great concern that famine may exist in the coming months but it may not be possible to validate it at that time due to lack of evidence as the result of limited access to the affected areas and populations.”
The crisis situation in this part of the world is sadly not new because of constant issues related to war and the natural environment. Sadly, while some European nations like Germany and Sweden are opening their respective doors to economic migrants and refugees, it is clear that genuine refugees who suffer from mass poverty and international isolation are being neglected despite the need being the most. Therefore, the people of South Sudan face possible starvation and the endless cycle of war and poverty, unlike many economic migrants that seek a fresh life in nations like Germany and Sweden.
The Guardian reports “Four counties in Unity State are among those principally at risk of famine, while Jonglei and Upper Nile states are also areas of concern. All three states have been wracked with conflict since December 2013, when a power struggle broke out between Salva Kiir, the South Sudanese president, and his former vice-president Riek Machar. The violence has left tens of thousands dead and displaced more than 2 million people. It has also shattered the nascent country’s economy.”
It appears that the mainly Animists and Christians of South Sudan are being marginalized based on issues related to poverty and limited media coverage. After all, it is clear that most people blighted by poverty and war in South Sudan are unable to reach nations like Germany because they lack economic resources to escape endless poverty and war. Therefore, it is galling to see mainly economic male migrants reaching Europe while genuine refugees need real international support and for doors to be opened for them.
President Salva Kiir of South Sudan and the former Vice-President Riek Machar need to overcome enormous political differences in order for the country to grow. Yet, even if a genuine peace settlement is ratified, it is clear that South Sudan needs real international assistance. This reality means it is imperative that Europe focuses on targeted refugee assistance alongside focusing on where the need is the greatest.
The United Kingdom also should do more to support the people of South Sudan based on the colonial legacy. Therefore, political elites in the United Kingdom should open the doors to the mainly Animist and Christian people of South Sudan. Similarly, with the Anglican Christian community being vibrant in South Sudan (and other Christian churches) then a shared civilization links both nations.
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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