Refugees in Gorom demand deployment of female police officers

Refugees in Gorom demand deployment of female police officers
A female traffic police officer directs rush hour traffic in Juba. [Photo: Spencer Spatt/Getty Images]

The refugees living in Gorom, Central Equatoria State, are appealing to the government of South Sudan to deploy policewomen in the camp. The refugees made the request during the visit of Interior Minister Gen. Mahmoud Solomon Agok to the camp yesterday.

Gorom Refugee Settlement Chairman, Ojullu Ochan, said the appeal by the refugees is to find durable solutions for their settlement in South Sudan.

Ochan said the refugees are facing several challenges and appealed for the intervention of the government of South Sudan.

 “We have the police force from the government, but there is no female police officer. We need policewomen so that in case of any violence between women, the police can solve the issues easily and can investigate [them] better than men, “he said.

Past clashes

Irregular clashes between farming communities and herders in Eastern Equatoria and Central Equatoria states have become a major problem that has led to massive displacement of people and loss of property among the communities.

Ochan said the host community and the refugees are facing issues with cattle keepers who often graze on the farmland, making cultivation difficult for them.

“The issue of cattle keepers near our farmlands is a very serious issue that resulted in low cultivation by both the host communities and the refugees,” he said.

“We are also in need of shelters for our grown-up children in the settlement.”

Last week, several residents in Juba raised concerns about the high prices of basic commodities due to the deteriorating economic situation in the country.

 The country depends on essential commodities imported from neighbouring countries like Uganda, Sudan, and Kenya.

Ochan said their food ratio had been reduced and the change in food ratio to cash has complicated the situation more due to the inflation rate in the country.

The Gorom refugee settlement mainly hosts refugees from Ethiopia, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The camp is being managed by ACROSS with funding from UNHCR and the government of South Sudan.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said SGBV issues happen in many refugee camps and it is important that a policewoman be present in the camp. 

“It is very important to have policewomen because in many camps, the majority are women, and sometimes women feel comfortable to speak to a woman police officer, especially on sexual gender-based violence issues.”

She added that the UNHCR also provides special services to people with specific needs by building their shelters, education, health and education in the settlement.