Protection is also a pillar of JRS
Article by Michael Kinaka, SJ., JRS South Sudan
One of the many needs of refugees and IDPs is protection. The conditions around concentration camps make refugees and IDPs vulnerable to human rights violations, discrimination in the access to basic necessities among others.
JRS’ passion and commitment to social justice is manifest in its Protection programs.
Recently I visited one o JRS projects in Yambio, Western Equitoria part of south Sudan. Yambio is located near the border of South Sudan, DRC and Central Africa Republic. One of my high moments of the trip was to see the dynamism and creativity of JRS programs based on the needs of a particular context.
As part of its vision, walking with the excluded, JRS Yambio is implementing a protection program targeting the vulnerable refugees returnees.
This group of people have been refugees in the neighboring countries and with time they have been returning to their country. JRS promotes the justice of the returnees, who now become IDPs at the border points, by providing them with legal and physical protection. JRS ‘proximity’ to the returnees in the spirit of accompaniment makes it possible to understand the protection needs of our people that further informs the appropriate humanitarian interventions.
During my stay in Yambio I had an encounter with some beneficiaries of our protection program. For example, I was touched by a story of Rose, a woman whose real name is not identified. Rose is a mother of five with the oldest child being about fifteen years old. She is deaf and lives with her elderly mother with no shelter. The saddest part of the story is that Rose has been raped in all her pregnancy instances and therefore the father (s) of her five children is /are unknown.
JRS has identified Rose as vulnerable and as a person whose dignity needs to be respected and protected.
One of great intervention by JRS was to build a simple but dignified shelter for Rose and her five children and her elderly mother.
I believe such intervention, born out of deep listening to the needs of the most vulnerable among the vulnerable, is a noble step towards creating hope and respect to human dignity. The protection team continues to advocate for other protection gaps for Rose and many other migrants with similar stories. JRS is also involved in to peace building, reconciliation, integration of the returnees back to the communities, education and psychosocial support.
Article by: Michael Kinaka, SJ. — JRS South Sudan