2013 UNHCR country operations profile - South Sudan
A year after gaining its independence in July 2011, South Sudan confronts major political and socio-economic challenges. Efforts to transform the country into a functional State have been beset by inter-communal violence, rebellions by militia groups and localized conflicts over land and natural resources. The mass arrival of returnees from Sudan and elsewhere in Africa has added to the pressure.
The fighting that erupted between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in Sudan's South Kordofan State in July 2011 and in Blue Nile State in September 2011 was largely due to disputes over issues left unresolved in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), especially with regard to border demarcation and oil-revenue sharing. By August 2012 the violence had driven more than 170,000 people to flee to Upper Nile and Unity states in South Sudan. It is expected that this figure will increase to 200,000 by end of 2012.
By mid-2012, the rapid arrival of many more refugees than UNHCR had expected and the onset of the rains, which caused flooding and hampered access to camps, had brought the situation to crisis level.
South Sudan's Central and Western Equatoria states have been receiving refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR) fleeing attacks by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The number of refugees in the region has remained relatively stable, at 32,000.
The Ministry of the Interior has assumed responsibility for refugee matters in South Sudan, and UNHCR is helping the ministry to build its asylum-related capacity. The Government of South Sudan remains welcoming towards refugees and is working with UNHCR on drafting regulations to support the recently passed Refugee Act.
Since the signing of the CPA in 2005, UNHCR has facilitated the return of more than 334,000 refugees from exile in the CAR, the DRC, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Voluntary repatriation remains the main durable solution for the remaining South Sudanese refugees. UNHCR is assisting the Government to create conditions conducive to their voluntary return and reintegration.
UNHCR and IOM co-chair the Emergency Returns Sector which supports returns from Sudan organized by the Government. UNHCR focuses on the protection of returnees, as well as the formulation and implementation of policies and standard operating procedures. It also supports the re-integration of returnees in areas of high return.
Sudan and South Sudan have yet to reach agreement on key nationality and citizenship issues. Without clear regulations on citizenship, the risk of statelessness in Sudan for South Sudanese remains high. Other populations, such as internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Darfur, nomadic groups and refugees returning from other countries are also at risk of statelessness.
To reduce this risk, UNHCR will help the Sudanese and South Sudanese authorities in drafting legislation, implementing regulations and building capacity to support documentation.
Localized conflict spurred the internal displacement of approximately 80,000 South Sudanese in Jonglei State in the first quarter of 2012, adding to the existing population of 270,000 IDPs in different parts of the country. The number of IDPs is expected to remain high in 2013, as the unstable security situation persists.
It is expected that South Sudan will ratify the 2010 African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention).
UNHCR has a close partnership with the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC), the main governmental counterpart mandated to manage the repatriation, relief, rehabilitation and reintegration of returnees and IDPs.
The disputed area of Abyei has been plagued by violence since May 2011. Before the fighting broke out there were some 100,000-150,000 people, including 20,000 returnees from Sudan, in Abyei. The fighting displaced most of the Dinka Ngok south of the River Kiir in Abyei into Warrap State. To meet the shift in needs in Abyei, UNHCR has redirected its priorities away from return, reintegration and stabilization towards emergency response.
South Sudan suffers from a lack of basic infrastructure and social services. More than half of the population lives in poverty, and legal frameworks and institutions to enforce the rule of law are largely underdeveloped.
UNHCR will offer the Ministry of the Interior technical expertise and logistical capacity to manage refugee affairs. A number of Sudanese and South Sudanese on both sides of the border remain in legal limbo with regards to their citizenship status pending the outcome of negotiations on citizenship laws. However, the enactment of the Nationality Law in South Sudan has reduced the risk for those living in the country.
The challenges UNHCR faces in providing assistance to the ever-growing refugee populations in Unity and Upper Nile states fleeing the violence in South Kordofan and Blue Nile are vast. Since mid-June, the onset of the rainy season and flooding have impeded access to refugee sites. UNHCR expects that the flow of refugees will continue through 2013, driven by inter-ethnic and inter-communal violence, as well as LRA attacks. Shelter and water are two of the most pressing needs, while the provision of health care, nutrition and sanitation will also need to be stepped up.
|UNHCR 2013 planning figures for South Sudan|
|TYPE OF POPULATION||ORIGIN||JAN 2013||DEC 2013|
|TOTAL IN COUNTRY||OF WHOM ASSISTED
|TOTAL IN COUNTRY||OF WHOM ASSISTED
|1. UNHCR continues to work to prevent statelessness as a result of the independence of South Sudan in 2011. The Office will assist persons at risk of statelessness to confirm identity and South Sudanese nationality through civil status documentation and/or information programmes.|
|Returnees (refugees)||South Sudan||5,000||5,000||30,000||30,000|
|Returnees (IDPs)||South Sudan||250,000||50,000||250,000||50,000|
Main objectives and targets for 2013
Favourable protection environment
Laws and policies are developed or strengthened.
The law is consistent with international standards on statelessness.
Security from violence and exploitation
The risk of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is reduced and the quality of the response to it is improved.
All refugees who are known survivors of SGBV receive support.
The protection of children is strengthened.
All children of concern are identified and assisted.
All children of concern are safe from violations of their rights by armed groups.
Basic needs and essential services
The health of the population is improved.
The under-5 mortality rate for refugees is reduced from between 2.6-2.8 per 10,000 persons per day to less than 2 per 10,000 persons per day for refugees who have arrived in the Upper Nile and Unity camps since end August 2012.
Shelter and infrastructure are established, improved and maintained.
Some 30 per cent of IDP households live in adequate dwellings.
The supply of potable water is increased or maintained.
The supply of clean water for refugees is increased from 10-13 litres per person per day to 15 litres per person per day in all refugee camps.
The potential for voluntary return is realized.
All South Sudanese refugees wishing to return do so voluntarily.
Strategy and activities in 2013
UNHCR will step up its response to the refugee crisis in Unity and Upper Nile States. The focus will be on bringing newly developed refugee sites up to standard and providing basic services such as water, shelter and primary health care. UNHCR will improve access to education and child protection services, especially for unaccompanied and separated minors, and will continue to register refugees and provide them with documents.
In the event that Sudan and South Sudan do not reach agreement on citizenship issues, UNHCR will identify, document and assist groups and individuals who are at risk of becoming stateless.
UNHCR will also support the drafting of legislation to strengthen the capacity of the State to protect refugees in line with international standards.
In addition, UNHCR will focus on providing cash grants to returning refugees and will encourage the passing of land and property legislation to allow all persons of concern full access to their rights. As protection cluster lead and co-lead of the emergency returns sector, UNHCR will provide technical advice to the Government and operational partners on managing the large-scale return and reintegration of southern Sudanese who had been living in the north (Sudan).
As protection cluster lead, UNHCR will focus on the protection of IDPs, including through campaigns on the prevention and response to SGBV. It will also place greater emphasis on child protection, which entails family tracing and reunification. UNHCR will provide self-reliance and livelihoods support to IDPs and returned IDPs, as well as minimal shelter to vulnerable families.
For returnees from Sudan, UNHCR will focus on protection monitoring and legal support to facilitate reintegration.
A lack of security and challenging logistical and environmental conditions hinder UNHCR's efforts to assist people of concern in South Sudan. The roads to refugee camps in Upper Nile and Unity states are poor, making it extremely difficult to deliver basic assistance to the camps; during the rainy season the camps are often only accessible by helicopter. Meanwhile, widespread poverty and the new State's lack of funds to respond to development needs are obstacles to lasting solutions for people of concern.
Organization and implementation
UNHCR works in partnership with UN agencies, ministries and departments of the Government of South Sudan, international and national NGOs and community-based organizations to protect and assist refugees, returnees and IDPs in South Sudan. Strong links with UNDP, UN-Habitat, ILO and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) help UNHCR to enhance reintegration programmes for returning refugees and IDPs. UNHCR co-leads the protection and emergency returns clusters.
In line with the independence of South Sudan in 2011, UNHCR's programme in the country was separated from that for Sudan.
In 2012 the needs for South Sudan were estimated at USD 84 million. However, owing to the emergency which unfolded in the course of the year, the budget more than tripled to allow UNHCR to meet the needs of the new arrivals from South Kordofan and Blue Nile States.
For 2013, the needs were estimated at USD 219 million; however this will need to be revised upwards to respond to the new influxes of refugees from Sudan.
Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2013 Update