South Sudan


Operation: Opération: South Sudan



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Key Figures

2018 year-end results
700,000 IDPs were reached through protection interventions
70,820 refugee children were enrolled in primary school and 20,340 in secondary schools
60,000 internally displaced families with specific vulnerabilities were assisted with core relief items and emergency shelters
51,570 refugee ID cards were issued
19,600 newly arrived refugees were registered and assisted with core relief items and shelters
14,240 refugee families received livelihood kits
1,160 SGBV cases reported to UNHCR received medical, legal and psychosocial support and livelihood assistance at the rehabilitation phase
2019 planning figures
80% of households will have an family latrine
77%  of primary school age refugee children will be enrolled in primary education
84,340  refugee women will receive sanitary materials
75,800  vulnerable IDP families will receive core-relief items
52,630  displaced people with specific needs will receive support
16,600  IDPs will receive emergency shelters 
< 0.2  Crude mortality rate among refugee children

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2018 2,318,691
2017 2,202,145
2016 2,870,538


[["Refugees",291842],["Asylum-seekers",2541],["IDPs",1878153],["Returned refugees",136155],["Others of concern",10000]]
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South Sudan

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2018 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[423.03014037,413.880856341,275.66821274,171.67261918,155.2873228,152.18334368],"expenditure":[142.04241824,140.46294415,126.30817887,131.89496719,111.17078986,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[190.77653836,185.326305374,167.85975155,130.87408024,120.07758228,107.75283929],"p2":[8.77186352,6.53999141,4.79579352,1.49549201,1.505682,1.15696435],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,12],"p4":[223.48173849,222.014559557,103.01266767,39.30304693,33.70405852,31.27354004]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[86.74189326,96.29588561,87.87085463,105.18668788,85.12592905,null],"p2":[3.76620376,2.11256854,2.54706187,0.83805353,1.00689489,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[51.53432122,42.05449,35.89026237,25.87022578,25.03796592,null]}
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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019

Operational context

Earlier in 2018, attacks on UNHCR and other humanitarian compounds in Maban County had a negative impact on the operating environment in South Sudan, specifically affecting the delivery of protection and assistance to refugees.

Marked improvements in the security situation were noted almost countrywide following the signing of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) in September 2018; and a notable decline in active military engagements was reported by the end of the year. This improvement allowed humanitarian actors to operate with minimal interruptions except for a few areas in Central and Western Equatoria.

South Sudan adopted its national Refugee Act in 2012 and acceded to the 1969 OAU Convention in June 2016. Advocacy with parliamentarians and executive authorities in 2018 led to the President signing the accession instruments to the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol. In late 2018, South Sudan became the 143rd State to accede to both the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol.

The number of spontaneous returns increased steadily, with up to 142,000 South Sudanese refugees reported to have spontaneously returned between November 2017 and December 2018. The majority – some 85% – of refugee returnees were unable to reach their places of origin or intended areas of return, and so most returned to areas already hosting large numbers of IDPs, placing greater strain on infrastructure and resources.

Population trends

In 2018, South Sudan hosted nearly 292,000 refugees and more than 2,500 asylum-seekers (83% of whom were women children), with the majority – some 93% – originating from Sudan. Approximately 90% of all refugees resided in camps in the north of the country. Compared to 2017, the number of newly arrived refugees increased by 21% to nearly 19,600 (largely from Sudan). All refugees were individually registered through the biometric identity management system (BIMS) and issued with refugee documentation.

In 2018, the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the country stood at 1.87 million. Close to 209,900 of them were hosted in UNMISS Protection of Civilian (POC) sites, while the vast majority of IDPs were accommodated by host communities and in spontaneous settlements – many in remote areas with limited infrastructure, accessibility and major security challenges.

Key achievements

UNHCR continued to deliver protection and assistance to refugees in cooperation with the Government and other partners. Specific efforts were made to support the prevention of statelessness and protection-centred interventions for IDPs.

Advocacy with parliamentarians and executive authorities in 2018 led to the accession to both the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol.

Refugee response:
  • Protection activities focused on reception, registration and documentation.
  • Awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of the civilian character of camps were carried out, promoting community participation and peaceful co-existence with host communities.
  • Multi-sectorial essentials services such as WASH, health, nutrition and education were provided in all refugee camps where access permitted. Some 14,200 refugees received livelihood kits, and land was secured for the agricultural activities of refugees.
  • The Yida “exit strategy” was prioritized with nearly 19,500 refugees relocated to Pamir and Ajoung Thok in 2018.
IDP response:
  • UNHCR continued to lead the protection cluster and co-lead the CCCM cluster for the IDP response. UNHCR provided protection assistance through outreach, strengthening of community structures, counselling, identification of people with specific needs, targeted material assistance and/or referrals.
  • Close to 60,000 IDP families with specific vulnerabilities received material assistance including core relief items and emergency shelters.
  Prevention of Statelessness
  • In close cooperation with the Government, UNHCR assisted in the issuance of nationality certificates for almost 1,400 formerly stateless persons. Since 2012, UNHCR has helped more than 13,000 persons at risk of statelessness obtain nationality certificates in South Sudan.

Unmet needs

Resource mobilization for the refugee operation continues to be challenging amidst the IDP crisis.

Substantial gaps remained in meeting the protection and assistance needs of refugees, IDPs and people at risk of statelessness, due to general insecurity across the country and a lack of basic infrastructure and services.

Major challenges included:
  • Maintaining the civilian and humanitarian character of asylum in the refugee camps in Central Equatoria, Unity and Upper Nile states. Access to justice in most locations remained a challenge, due to the absence of adequate formal judicial structures.
  • There is a need for additional advocacy and legal assistance.
  • A lack of qualified medical personnel, including midwives, in maternity units in refugee camps and referral hospitals.
  • Insufficient access to household latrines and hand-washing facilities.
  • Limited classroom and teaching capacity – Approximately 245 additional classrooms are needed to decongest schools in the refugee camps and 150 additional teachers are needed to meet the standard teacher student ratio of 1:50.
  • Access to services for IDPs was affected by insecurity and economic decline.
  • Rape and other types of gender-based violence remained pervasive but remain largely underreported.

Working environment

As of mid-2017, South Sudan hosts 276,900 Sudanese refugees and some 2 million South Sudanese are internally displaced within the country. By end of 2017, there will be some 283,600 Sudanese refugees with an annual increase of 20,000 due to anticipated Sudanese refugee inflow into Unity and Upper Nile States and natural population growth.
In 2018, the operational environment in South Sudan will remain unpredictable, complex and fluid, caused by continuing economic difficulties, instability and conflict.  The humanitarian situation will continue to deteriorate, resulting in an increased number of people in need of assistance. The limited infrastructure and security challenges further complicate the delivery of humanitarian assistance, in particular to the most remote locations. Despite these challenges, South Sudan maintains an open door policy for refugees.
Competition over natural resources could potentially escalate into tensions in 2018 as a growing number of host communities settle around the camps in search of access to clean water, healthcare and education. In 2018, UNHCR’s support to the host community will remain one of key priorities; the peaceful coexistence and Peace committee’s initiatives will be supported across all refugee locations.
In 2018, UNHCR will continue to place an importance on strengthening partnerships and ensuring coordination with relevant stakeholders, including Government, NGO and UN partners. UNHCR and its partners will continue to maintain synergy and necessary coordination with the clusters and the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), in accordance with the Refugee Coordination Model.

Key priorities

In 2018, UNHCR will focus on:
  • Supporting and strengthening resilience of displaced people while continuing to meet the standards of humanitarian assistance and to provide leadership in protection.
  • Increasing investments in livelihoods, youth programming and education to support protection, self-reliance and pathways to solutions for refugees, and social cohesion with host communities.
  • Providing support to new refugee arrivals.
  • Continuing to implement core protection activities to ensure identification and documentation of refugees, prevent and respond to cases of SGBV and child protection.
  • Identifying and responding to the needs of most vulnerable IDPs; working towards peaceful coexistence with host communities and transparent dialogue on sharing the resources; searching for solutions and maintaining protection leadership through engagement in coordination; providing quality information and analysis of population movements; working with other humanitarian actors under protection cluster to find the sustainable solution for IDPs.
  • Piloting the use of cash-based interventions in-lieu of in-kind support.
Latest contributions
  • 17-JUL-2019
  • 16-JUL-2019
  • 11-JUL-2019
  • 10-JUL-2019
  • 08-JUL-2019
    European Union
  • Kuwait
  • 05-JUL-2019
  • 04-JUL-2019

    private donors

  • European Union
  • Japan
  • 03-JUL-2019
  • 02-JUL-2019
  • 30-JUN-2019

    private donors

  • Argentina
  • Sweden

    private donors

  • Spain
  • Oman

    private donors

  • United Arab Emirates

    private donors

  • Kuwait

    private donors

  • Saudi Arabia

    private donors