S. Sudan, Sudan, & UNHCR convene follow-up meeting on refugee situation

Representatives from South Sudan and Sudan during a follow-up meeting held in the capital, Juba / Photo: UNHCR-South Sudan

South Sudan, Sudan, IGAD and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees held a follow-up meeting on the situation of forcibly displaced persons from January 13 to 15 in the South Sudanese capital of South Sudan, Juba.

“Governments of South Sudan and Sudan, IGAD, UNHCR and partners met from January 13th-15th in Juba to follow up on the IGAD Initiative on Solutions for the Sudan and South Sudan displacement situations,” the UN Refugee Agency said on its Twitter handle.

South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation, remains home to thousands of Sudanese refugees who had fled violence in Khartoum during the regime of Omar al-Bashir — an authoritarian ruler overthrown in a military coup a few years ago.

Likewise, Sudan hosts a large number of South Sudanese refugees who sought refuge in the region after the outbreak of violence in 2013.

In December last year, the two countries agreed on a roadmap that outlines the next steps toward medium to long-term solutions for forcibly displaced persons.

“It is a historic moment, for the two governments to come together in search for solutions for their populations” noted Ambassador Mohamed Abdi Affey, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa. ‘We have recently seen impressive developments towards solutions. We have a practical and cordial working relationship between the two governments. We have a roadmap. Now we must work together to show the world that to invest in this process is to light a candle for enduring peace, sustainable return and a hopeful future for the people of South Sudan and Sudan.”

IGAD, UNHCR and partners welcome first meeting of Sudan and S. Sudan on solutions to displacement


Dec 2020 (Thessherald)–Representatives of the governments of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan agreed this week on a regional roadmap which will outline the next steps toward medium to long-term solutions for seven million forcibly displaced persons originating from and hosted by the two countries, and other States hosting displaced populations from both countries.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), currently chaired by Sudan, UNHCR, the Refugee Agency and partners, welcomed the conclusions of this first technical-level meeting, building on the unprecedented opportunity to find lasting solutions for displaced persons from the two countries. The solution strategies will include refugees, IDPs, returnees and host populations and be advanced through the established IGAD Support Platform launched at the Global Refugee Forum.

“It is a historic moment, for the two governments to come together in search for solutions for their populations” noted Ambassador Mohamed Abdi Affey, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa.

“We have recently seen impressive developments towards solutions. We have a practical and cordial working relationship between the two governments. We have a roadmap. Now we must work together to show the world that to invest in this process is to light a candle for enduring peace, sustainable return and a hopeful future for the people of South Sudan and Sudan.”

The representatives from Sudan and South Sudan highlighted that the uniqueness of the joint initiative on solutions to displacement stems from the complementarity of the two comprehensive peace agreements, including the signing of the Juba Peace Agreement concluded on 3 October 2020, and the continued efforts in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (RARCSS) signed on 12 September 2018.

The governments stressed the need to anchor the initiative within their respective peace deals, which, critically, provide for solutions for refugees, IDPs and returnees.

In the spirit of the peace process, the governments agreed to “a people-centered approach,” prioritizing the rehabilitation and recovery needs of Sudan’s and South Sudan’s displaced peoples. They agreed that both governments should work to create conditions conducive for voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return while simultaneously working to implement innovative solutions which enhance the quality for asylum in the two countries.

Ms. Fathia Alwan, the IGAD Director for Health and Social Development noted that the inception workshop was a start of multi-year journey as durable solutions are long-term endeavors that requires concerted efforts by all parties and acknowledged the support of the core group members including the European Union, Germany, the World Bank, GIZ and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

She reiterated that the IGAD Support Platform will be the ideal vehicle to advance the solution strategies for the Sudan and South Sudan displacement situations.

Building on the good practices of the Nairobi Process, and the commitments made at the Global Refugee Forum a year ago, the meeting concluded with an outline of the next steps in the roadmap. This includes national consultations to develop solutions strategies in the respective countries to culminate in a joint comprehensive plan of action. The comprehensive plan of action will subsequently be submitted for review and endorsement during the forthcoming IGAD Heads of State Special Summit planned for the first quarter of 2021, aimed at seeking agreement on the early recovery and longer-term peacebuilding and resilience needs of both Sudan and South Sudan.

Both the Sudan and South Sudan delegations emphasized the need to include refugee and IDP voices at all stages of the solutions initiative to ensure the meaningful role conflict-affected communities have in peace efforts. Mr. Hans Stausboll, the EU Head of Unit for East and Horn of Africa welcomed the conclusions of the meeting and reiterated EU’s commitment to support the initiative.

UNHCR committed to supporting the respective governments in their efforts to create the conditions on the ground that will permit safe and sustainable return and integration, and called for a scaling up of development support in areas of potential refugee and IDP return.

The first inception meeting was organised by IGAD in coordination with UNHCR and with the support of the European Union, the World Bank, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), GIZ and UNDP.

UNHCR praises inclusion of refugee and internally displaced voices in South Sudan’s milestone National Dialogue peace conference

The UN Refugee Agency |Photo: UNHCR
The UN Refugee Agency |Photo: UNHCR

UNHCR | Press Release

November 19, 2020 (Thessherald)–On Tuesday, the National Dialogue Conference on Peace concluded in Juba, South Sudan with the release of a communique aimed at identifying a way forward for the revitalized agreement on the resolution of the conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS).

Recommendations covered a host of topics ranging from the economy to safety and security, to governance and social cohesion. In a historic step, refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees also brought their unique perspectives to the deliberations.

The Dialogue provided a platform for a frank and earnest exchange of views among over

500 participants from all walks of life. In light of the global pandemic, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, assisted a dozen participants to connect virtually from five asylum countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. In addition, 26 IDPs and returnees across South Sudan connected to the proceedings online, in close coordination with the National Dialogue Conference’s organizers. Many more watched the livestreamed discussions.

Refugee, IDP and returnee recommendations were included in the final report, which largely focused on displacement solutions. Concretely, they called for security sector reform and strengthening the rule of law, improvements in essential services in their home location, inclusion of women, youth and persons with disabilities in governance; reforms that respect women’s rights to own, inherit and transfer land; housing, land and property restitution; economic stability and creation of employment opportunities.

Reflecting the gravity of the occasion, President H.E. Salva Kiir Mayardit addressed the Conference on the final day, along with members of the diplomatic community in Juba. In his concluding remarks, the Honourable Angelo Beda, co-chairperson of the National Dialogue, recognised that continued momentum following the dialogue is crucial, and urged the full realisation of the recommendations. Participants also echoed the call for progress. “What sets great nations apart is the implementation of policies”, said Zacharia Friday in Yambio, Western Equatoria State on behalf of internally displaced persons in South Sudan.

With nearly 2.2 million South Sudanese refugees hosted in neighbouring countries and another 1.6 million persons displaced within the country, UNHCR stresses for their voice to be heard at all stages, including in consultations which are shaping the path to peace.

“Peace is not complete until the nation is complete, and the nation is not complete until all of its citizens have a meaningful role to play in that,” said Arafat Jamal, UNHCR Representative speaking at the closing ceremony. “Thank you to the National Dialogue for welcoming the virtual participation of conflict affected communities.”

Student turned advocate – Sudanese refugee champions education and COVID-19 awareness in South Sudan

A Congolese refugee receives a set of blankets from UNHCR Field work |Photo: UNHCR South Sudan.

By UNHCR South Sudan

Oct 6, 2020 (Thessherald)–The new coronavirus pandemic has brought a lot of surprises for students. Schools are closed, exams schedules have changed, and graduation ceremonies are on hold.
Sudanese refugee and DAFI scholar, Emad, didn’t expect to teach classes back in his refugee camp instead of starting his final year of university.

Emad arrived in South Sudan in 2012 in what he calls his “long walk to safety” – a month-long journey on foot to flee the conflict in his home of Blue Nile State. After being registered by

UNHCR, he moved to one of Maban County’s refugee camps, which today is home to approximately 150,000 refugees.

Having completed his own secondary education, Emad was among the few who could ‘teach’. jumping at the chance to contribute, he taught science, social studies and mathematics in three refugee primary schools.

The experience lit a fire within him to pursue further study in education, and when Emad saw an advert in 2016 for UNHCR’s DAFI scholarship, it seemed like the perfect fit. After a first unsuccessful application, he received an offer to study education at St. Mary’s College in Juba.

The DAFI programme, also known as the Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative, aims to support refugees, through scholarships, to study at universities and colleges in their countries of asylum. In 2019, 90 refugees in South Sudan and 1,130 South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries were part of the program.

“The German government wants to give a chance to refugees to build up their future. DAFI support helps young students to afford higher education,” said Manuel Müller, German Ambassador to South Sudan.

The aim is not only to form future professionals, but also champions of education. And this is who Emad has become. During his school break earlier this year, he and other DAFI scholars spearheaded a door-to-door campaign, in his refugee camps. They encouraged dropouts to return to school and raised awareness on the importance of education in the camp’s four primary schools. With support from the local parent-teacher associations, the campaign saw a 30 percent increase in the daily attendance of students. But then COVID-19 struck.

With the schools closed as a preventative measure, Emad and his DAFI scholar group quickly teamed up with other young people in his refugee camp to spearhead an awareness campaign on COVID-19 prevention, together with UNHCR partner Save the Children International.

The two-pronged campaign conveys prevention messages – such as hand washing and physical distancing in busy places – through the public announcement system in the refugee camp, and organizes workshops with influential refugee youths, who then turn roll out the sensitization to their wider groups.

“I have become an advocate of education as well as COVID-19 prevention and awareness in the camp – and I am proud of it,” Emad says, smiling. He expects to graduate in 2021, though the exact date of his graduation is uncertain.

UNHCR and Germany recognises the disadvantages that refugee students often face in pursuing their education. This is why the DAFI scholarship’s support extends beyond academics. Depending on the needs of the scholars, psychosocial services, language classes and academic bridging courses are offered. As a result, each student not only graduates, but becomes a positive leader for change in their communities and eventually when they return home.

Emad, DAFI student (standing right) during awareness on COVID-19 with youth leaders in Maban refugee camp. © LWF/Annet Kenyi on 3rd July 2020
Emad, DAFI student (standing right) during awareness on COVID-19 with youth leaders in Maban refugee camp. © LWF/Annet Kenyi on 3rd July 2020

To learn more about the German Embassy in South Sudan, please follow on Twitter

S. Sudan seeks to accede to UN Convention on Statelessness

[Right to left] First Vice-President, Dr. Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir Mayardit |Photo:File

October 2, 2020 (Thessherald)–Meeting in Juba on Thursday – the Governance Cluster chaired by the First Vice-President, Dr. Riek Machar, passed a draft proposal seeking the state’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

“Governance Cluster meeting today chaired by the First Vice President, H.E. Dr. Riek Machar Teny, discussed, passed and recommended the UN Convention on Statelessness,” said the Office of the First Vice-President.

The United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness is a treaty signed by 75 countries around the world and obligates each member state to ensure that no one is left stateless.

In a statement to the media, the Press Secretary in the Office of the Vice-President, James Gatdet said that the proposal is now ready to be presented to the Council of Ministers for approval.

After approval for the Council of Ministers, the Convention will be tabled before the Revitalized-Transitional National Legislative (R-TNA) for final approval.

“After its recommendation today by the Governance Cluster, the Convention will be tabled before the Council of Ministers meeting for approval and then sent to the parliament for rectification [ratification] so that it becomes a law.”

Since gaining independence in 2011, South Sudan has signed a number of United Nations and African Union treaties.

In 2016, the country acceded to the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugees Problems in Africa, making it the 46th country to ratify the Convention.

UNHCR strengthens support to S. Sudan’s search for durable solutions for millions of forcibly displaced

UNHCR Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Ambassador Mohamed Affey meets President Salva Kiir Mayardit |Photo: UNHCR

Press Statement |UNHCR-S. Sudan

Sept 25, 2020 (Thessherald)–UNHCR Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Ambassador Mohamed Affey, concluded a High-Level mission to renew the joint commitment to find durable solutions for millions of forcibly displaced people in the region.

UNHCR, the UN refugee Agency, strengthens its support to South Sudan’s Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity’s search for a comprehensive and lasting solutions for those forcibly displaced in the region. With 1.6 million internally displaced persons and 2.25 million South Sudanese refugees in the neighbouring countries, South Sudan continues to represent the largest displacement situation in Africa, and one of the biggest globally. In addition, more than 302,000 refugees and 3,700 asylum seekers are generously hosted in the country.

While the country is moving towards the establishment of a long-lasting peace, through the implementation of the 2018 Revitalized Peace Agreement, UNHCR renews its commitment in supporting the government to find durable solutions for those displaced. More than 205,000 South Sudanese refugees have spontaneously returned to South Sudan since the signing of the peace deal, two years ago.

It is in this backdrop that UNHCR’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Ambassador Mohamed Affey, held a three-day mission to South Sudan. During his visit, concluded on Wednesday, he met and discussed this critical topic with President Salva Kiir Mayardit and Vice President Rebecca Nyandeng De Mabior, and other high-level officials. He also met with SRSG David Shearer and other UN senior officials in the country.

Thanks to these meetings, the start of a longer dialogue was established on which UNHCR and the government will build on to find a way forward that will ultimately benefit both displaced and host communities. This is in line with the pledges that the country has set for itself at the first Global Refugee Forum, last December in Geneva.

UNHCR welcomes the people of Japan’s commitment to the most vulnerable in South Sudan

UNHCR staff distributes a set of new blankets to a Congolese refugee seeking refuge in South Sudan | Photo: UNHCR

Press Statement | UNHCR

June 30, 2020 (Thessherald)–The UN Refugee Agency welcomes the generous contribution of USD 1 million from the people of Japan to protect and assist displaced persons across South Sudan. Since the outbreak of the conflict in 2016, Japan has donated nearly $17 million to support vital assistance to those forced to flee their homes.

“The country is at a pivotal moment, with many people still vulnerable and displaced as the implementation of the peace agreement goes on,” said Adan Ilmi, the UNHCR Representative a.i. in South Sudan. “Generous donations such as this one from the Japanese people enable us to continue our work supporting refugees and internally displaced persons in South Sudan, ensuring that no one will be left behind.”

Japan’s donation will help support life-saving activities, such as healthcare, and equip forcibly displaced persons with the tools to rebuild their lives through education. Programs being supported include primary healthcare centres in Makpandu refugee camp and Lasu refugee settlement in Western Equatoria. Located near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, these centres are on the frontline of Ebola prevention. Strengthening such health programs and facilities is even more critical as the county responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The donation will also bolster UNHCR’s data-driven approach to humanitarian aid, strengthening protection monitoring and response in internal displacement sites, areas of return, and at key border crossing points. While South Sudan has yet to address all the root causes of forced displacement, which is necessary to ensure the 2.2. million South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries a safe and sustainable return, displaced families continue to come back in a self-organized manner. UNHCR, the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission and partners, which are monitoring the returnee’s protection needs, recorded 4,600 spontaneous returns in May.

“This assistance shows Japan’s strong and faithful commitment to addressing the basic needs of the most vulnerable populations,” H.E. Seji Okada said. “The assistance to UNHCR comes during a critical time in South Sudan. Japan applauds the partnership between the Government of South Sudan and UNHCR to assist displaced populations and the most vulnerable, while supporting South Sudan’s efforts for its development.”

UNHCR South Sudan commends Government’s effort to preserve access to asylum

UNHCR-South Sudan, Press Statement 
An asylum-seeker receiving a set of blankets and other NFIs from a UNHCR staff /Picture: UNHCR

May 8, 2020 (Thessherald)–The UN Refugee Agency in South Sudan commends the Transitional Government of National Unity for continuing to welcome people seeking refuge from the Democratic Republic of Congo and stands in solidarity with the South Sudanese government.

UNHCR commends the Transitional Government of National Unity for its continued generosity to allow people fleeing recent violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to seek refuge in South Sudan, despite the current movement restrictions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first reported official cross-border movement from a neighboring country since South Sudan’s borders were closed in late March 2020 in order to curb the spread of the new virus. South Sudan’s actions are an example of how COVID-19 preventative measures can be managed while still allowing people fleeing in fear of their lives to seek asylum, observing international protection.

Nearly 250 people from DRC have crossed into rural areas of the Western Equatoria State over the last week – many among them are vulnerable women and children. UNHCR, in close collaboration with South Sudan’s Ministry of Interior through its Commission for Refugee Affairs (CRA), continues to monitor their situation and address their needs in coordination with partners. UNHCR and its partners, along with the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization, and the CRA are on the ground to support the new arrivals with life-saving assistance; food, water, sanitation and healthcare services are provided and COVID19 preventive measures are implemented.

The new arrivals have been sensitized on the new coronavirus disease and the measures in place to tackle it, in compliance with South Sudan’s National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan. As a precautionary measure and abiding by the South Sudan Ministry of Health and World Health Organization guidelines – which applies to all nationals and internationals coming into the country- the group has agreed to undergo and complete the 14-day mandatory quarantine in a safe location, a facility that has been identified by the authorities, with the support of UNHCR and its partners. UNHCR has continuos access to the population and will continue to monitor and respond to their needs.

“UNHCR praises the Transitional Government of National Unity for the inclusion of refugees, asylum seekers and other persons of concern in the National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan. We support the government and stand together in solidarity during these difficult times”, says Adan Ilmi, UNHCR Representative a.i. in South Sudan.

Giulia Raffaelli | Rome | +39 348 7288351 | raffaelg@unhcr.org
Gift Friday Noah | Juba | +211 922 654 219 | noah@unhcr.org

Rights group ‘disturbed,’ calls for probe into death of S. Sudan’s refugee in Kakuma

Centre for Peace and Advocacy Press Statement on the Death of the South Sudanese Refugee in Kakuma-Kenya.

May 6, 2020 (Juba)- The Centre for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) has received disturbing reports from a number of eyewitnesses and some news outlets following the death of a 22-year-old South Sudanese refugee residing in Kakuma, Kenya.

Credible and reliable sources have confirmed to the Centre for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) that the deceased was beaten to death by the Kenyan Police on 25th April, 2020 and passed on on 26th April. The young man identified as Sunday Doang Lony was a South Sudanese refugee living in Kakuma Kenya and was in Primary Eight (P.8)

It is disturbing and sad as well that the Kenya Police mandated to protect everyone within its jurisdiction including refugees is the one reported to be violating the rights it is supposed to protect.

It is against this backdrop that the Centre for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) strongly condemns the killing of this South Sudanese refugee and urges the Kenyan government to thoroughly investigate and bring to book the perpetrators of this heinous human rights violation.

Kenya is a signatory to both the Refugee Convention and the OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa and it is therefore mandated to protect all people, asylum-seekers and refugees within its jurisdiction.

The Centre for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) reminds the Kenyan government of its obligation to respect, protect and fulfill under the international laws its mandate of observing the human rights standards that prohibit violations and abuses such as torture and slavery, let alone beating someone to death. These are non-derogable rights that cannot be restricted or suspended for any reason.

The Centre for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) family would like to register their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.

Centre for Peace and Advocacy (CPA)-South Sudan Human Rights Officer —Contact us on: +211924538137 | +211917799524: Email address: cpa@southsudancpa.org/ cpasouthsudan@gmail.com / www.SouthSudancpa.org

‘No more movements between camps,’ UNHCRH in Kenya steps up tough measures

Emblem of UNHCR/Photo: UN

(Thessherald)–In the face of the ongoing concerns about the spread of Coronavirus, UNHCR in Kenya has implemented strict measures, restricting unnecessary movements of refugees, asylum-seekers and other persons of concern.

Information for Refugees and Asylum-Seekers regarding Corona virus

“The Government of Kenya has announced various measures to prevent the further spread of Coronavirus. UNHCR has therefore implemented precautionary measures to prevent any further spread of the virus and in order to protect refugees, asylum-seekers and other persons of concern from becoming infected with the virus.”

These are in line with the directives of the Government of Kenya and include:

• Services at UNHCR: No reception, interviews or counselling will take place at UNHCR offices.

• Voluntary repatriation: All movements of persons of concern wishing to return to their countries have been suspended.

• Resettlement: All movements of refugees departing to resettlement countries have been suspended.

• Movements between Kakuma,
Dadaab and Nairobi: Refugee Affairs Secretariat has suspended the issuance of movement passes. Hence, no movements take place between Kakuma, Dadaab and Nairobi until further notice.