Civilian and Humanitarian Character of Asylum – Questions and Answers

1) The character of asylum is civilian and humanitarian. What does this mean?

  • Asylum (or refuge) is of a peaceful, civilian, and humanitarian nature. Normally, asylum is granted only to civilians who flee to other countries seeking protection from war, conflicts, generalised violence, and persecution.
  • Refugee camps should be free from arms and fighters or combatants as required by the laws of South Sudan and international laws.
  • Fighters or combatants are not civilians. Civilians are individuals who are not members of an armed group. Fighters or combatants cannot ask for asylum unless they permanently renounce violence and give up their weapons. This must be verified by the authorities of the Government of South Sudan.
  • Fighters or combatants shall not have access to refugee camps nor benefit from humanitarian assistance. The protection, humanitarian assistance and services delivered to asylum seekers and refugees are meant only for civilians who are seeking or have been granted asylum.
  • Asylum-seekers and refugees may be sanctioned and punished by the South Sudan and international laws, if they are involved in illegal activities such as:
    • Militarised political activities or activities that involve use of arms;
    • Setting up and operating military coordination offices inside and outside the refugee camps;
    • Organising militarised-political rallies, military trainings, awarding of ranks/military certificates inside and outside the refugee camps;
    • Installing armed or military facilities/structures inside or outside the refugee camps;
    • Voluntarily joining armed or militarised political groups;
    • Forcibly recruiting others into armed or militarised political groups
  • No matter what position that a refugee has in his/her community (e.g. Community leaders, Umdas, Community Watch Group, Sheikhs, etc.), no refugee can be involved in any militarised political or armed activities, whether it is inside or outside the camps. For instance, it is prohibited to keep/store any ammunition and weapons. To organise or recruit people for armed groups, either inside or outside camps, is not permitted.

 

 

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees