On the frontline with Eujin Byun

Witnessing the best and worst of humanity in South Sudan

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© UNHCR/James Jamba Charles

Eujin Byun is a Public Information Officer for UNHCR South Sudan – interviewing and photographing refugees to let the wider world know about their plight.

How do you deal with the threat of violence?

Since the start of the conflict in 2013, 93 aid workers have been killed and there are also kidnappings. When I hear about another incident, my blood runs cold. Of course, you think ‘that could have been me’. But it won’t stop me as I continue to help refugees and internally displaced people rebuild their homes and lives. Right now, South Sudan is where I belong.

Are the risks worse for female aid workers?

In South Sudan, there has been a lot of sexual and gender-based violence and the fear is there among the female staff. But that’s why my colleagues are so important to me – we talk about those kinds of fears and it helps to know I’m not the only one who’s afraid.

What keeps you going?

In South Sudan, I have witnessed the best and worst of humanity. I have visited communities where people have nothing, but still manage to keep a huge smile on their faces. It makes me realise what is important in life and the many small things we take for granted — family, friends, education, electricity and even walking outside at night.

Learn more about UNHCR’s South Sudan operations or find out how UNHCR helps displaced  women and girls access education and feel safe.



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