Peace Treaty

Peace trea·ty - Noun

an agreement to come to peace and end conflict (between governments, countries, etc).

The bridge separating South Sudan and Uganda where refugees cross.

The bridge separating South Sudan and Uganda where refugees cross.

Why do GRI projects in Uganda matter if there has been a peace treaty that has been signed in South Sudan? They matter for several reasons.

Just because a peace treaty has been signed does not suddenly make everything better. It does not immediately stop the fighting. It is simply one step in the process of restoring stability.

The country of South Sudan still doesn’t have resources set up for its citizens. It is difficult to restore infrastructure so that people have access to food and medical care.

The rebels are still fighting the government. Since the rebels and the government soldiers don’t get paid, they loot from the villages which continues to drive people into the bush the or across the border. Up until now, there are still people coming across the border every day for this very reason. They have to leave everything they know behind in hopes of having some semblance of normal.

Also, the villages were ravaged; crops and houses were burned. Some refugees don’t have a home to go home to. Seeing as the average refugee spends 21 years in a resettlement camp, for some, the camp is the only home they have ever known. They would have to start from scratch if they returned.

So, the refugees will keep coming to Uganda until the area is stabilized. They know that as a refugee in Uganda, they are entitled to food, shelter, and medical care, which is more than what they get as a citizen of their own country. This is why our work is so important.

Overall, it may be said that just because there is a treaty, it doesn’t mean that refugees will stop coming or that our work is done.

-Jessica Firestone