JUBA, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) on Friday donated 7.25 million U.S. dollars to South Sudan through the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide protection and livelihood for returnees in the country.
Timo Olkkonen, Head of Delegation of the European Union to South Sudan said the funds will help South Sudanese to address challenges that they are facing both in the short and long term.
"The humanitarian emergency in South Sudan is very severe and we need to assist the people of South Sudan to meet the challenges that they have today but we also need to look forward in developmental terms about how we can support South Sudan in the medium and the longer term," Olkkonen told journalists in Juba, the capital of South Sudan during the signing ceremony.
He said the EU wants to support South Sudanese returnees to have documentation that would guarantee their rights to be upheld as the country prepares for elections at the end of the transitional period in 2024.
Arafat Jamal, UNHCR Representative in South Sudan said the project will focus on areas where they feel there is productivity, and opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people through the provision of protection.
"The overall objective of the project is to enable displaced persons and local communities to have access to protection centered self-reliant oriented support that advances the integration of peace and development and this project is also to be done in a protection conflict-sensitive and climate adapted measures," Arafat said.
Arafat revealed that about 600,000 South Sudanese have returned home voluntarily in seven counties across the country.
He revealed that at least 2.3 million South Sudanese are refugees in the neighboring countries. ■