Operation: Opération: Sudan



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Key Figures

2018 year-end results
65% of primary school-aged refugee and asylum-seeking children were enrolled in primary education 
43% of households’ needs for basic and domestic items were met
28% of people of concern (18-59) were earning at least minimum wages for more than 6 months
2019 planning figures
100% of people of concern will have access to primary health care
80% of primary school-aged refugee and asylum-seeker children will be enrolled in primary schools
65% of households will be living in adequate dwellings

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2018 2,965,646
2017 3,323,629
2016 2,704,048


[["Refugees",1078287],["Asylum-seekers",17622],["IDPs",1864195],["Returned refugees",1805],["Others of concern",3737]]
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2018 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[160.308285897,171.322796876,167.165516029,202.257032266,255.89879875,268.7296229],"expenditure":[68.4190138,70.93360276,80.04125617,90.06267898,72.75113449,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[115.474342387,137.778614176,135.018613209,167.478835536,218.35645491,221.51723948],"p2":[3.36070081,3.0773447,1.54826576,2.4839356,2.03309319,2.82095379],"p3":[null,null,null,6.313447,11.8467486,21.94923626],"p4":[41.4732427,30.466838,30.59863706,25.98081413,23.66250205,22.44219337]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[45.14173249,57.11940336,70.44091682,83.95294052,60.24950272,null],"p2":[1.80628898,0.56779169,0.83128585,0.98464263,0.74312904,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,3.56043989,null],"p4":[21.47099233,13.24640771,8.7690535,5.12509583,8.19806284,null]}
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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019

Operational context

In 2018, the operational environment in Sudan became increasingly  challenging as the economic crisis deteriorated, resulting in significant shortages of bread, fuel and gas, heavily affecting both local and refugee communities. The fuel shortages and record high inflation have also rendered provision of protection and assistance to all UNHCR’s people of concern difficult. Shortage of cash in the banks also posed a challenge for project implementation in the second half of 2018.

The influx of refugees from South Sudan continued during 2018 albeit the numbers remained lower than in previous years. The situations in the Arab Republic of Syria and Yemen remained fluid, and refugees continued to arrive in significant numbers, mostly settling in the capital.

Sudan remained the source, transit and destination country for people in mixed movements, including for asylum-seekers and refugees using the East African migratory route to North Africa and further to Europe.

Population trends

At the end of 2018, Sudan hosted more than 1.1 million refugees and asylum-seekers, including over 850,000 refugees from South Sudan, more than 120,000 from Eritrea and 93,500 from Syria. Other countries of origin include: Ethiopia, Chad, the Central African Republic and Yemen. In addition, some 1.9 million people are internally displaced.
Of more than 850,000 South Sudanese refugees in the country, about 500,000 have sought safety in Sudan since the conflict erupted in South Sudan in December 2013. This is in addition to some 350,000 South Sudanese who remained in the country after South Sudan’s independence in 2011. Some 22% live in two camps in East Darfur and nine camps in White Nile state, and the remaining 78% live in out-of-camp settlements and urban areas among host populations. The influx of South Sudanese refugees continued, however the arrival trends subsided in 2018, with close to 33,120 registered new arrivals.
New arrivals (7,000) from Eritrea continued during 2018 despite high military presence along, and closure of, the Sudan- Eretria border. However, over 50% (30% lower than in 2017) are estimated to have moved onwards and others stayed in the refugee camps.
In addition 1,767 new arrivals from Central African Republic (CAR) were recorded during the year arriving to El Radom town of the South Darfur state. This is in addition to the 2,445 CAR existing refugees in Nyala town in the South Darfur state.

Key achievements

Under the Tripartite Agreement governing the return of Chadian refugees from Sudan, UNHCR facilitated the return of 4,804 Chadian refugees from the Um Shalaya and Mukjar camps in Central Darfur state. The remaining 3,500 Chadian refugees in Um Shalaya camp are expected to repatriate in 2019.
Under the Tripartite Agreement governing the return of Sudanese refugees from Chad, some 1,760 Sudanese refugees returned to Darfur/Sudan between April and December 2018. A further 5,000 are expected to return in 2019. Land occupation has affected the ability of some returnees to re-establish themselves in their villages of origin in Darfur. Land occupation is similarly affecting the ability of some IDPs to permanently return to their home villages. Existing mechanisms to address land occupation and disputes are generally weak in Darfur.
In 2018, UNHCR continued advocacy and capacity building efforts to improve the legal environment for persons at risk of statelessness. Some 2,560 persons at risk of statelessness were provided legal aid, including legal representation and legal advice related to nationality and documentation. UNHCR and partners assisted 2,030 Sudanese and 2,540 South Sudanese people in confirming their nationality. A study conducted on statelessness identified around 3,000 stateless persons in Khartoum State who lost their Sudanese nationality after the secession of South Sudan.
Improvements in the overall security situation in Darfur resulted in the drawdown of UNAMID from four out of the five Darfur states as well as in an increase in IDP returns. As the Protection Sector lead in Sudan, UNHCR coordinated regular Protection sector meetings in Khartoum and at states’ level, provided policy advice to the Humanitarian Coordinator, Humanitarian Country Team, Inter Sector Coordination Group and other humanitarian forums. Based on the needs identified, UNHCR distributed NFI packages to more than 16,560 households, and undertook voluntary return verification missions across the Darfur states.

Unmet needs

Resources available in 2018 were insufficient to cover basic needs and services for the refugee population which continued to largely depend on humanitarian aid due to the lack of possibilities to engage in meaningful livelihoods activities. Funding constraints limited the scope of interventions in the sectors of health, education, WASH, community infrastructure and livelihoods.
The deterioration in the economic situation further impacted provision of health assistance, as the cost of medicine increased by more than 50%. Furthermore, the chronically ill people of concern were not assisted as referrals were only limited to emergency life-saving cases.
Educational assistance was only provided to a fraction of vulnerable children, exposing the remaining ones to various protection risks. With poverty and vulnerability persisting amongst the targeted population, this created a risk of children being engaged in child labour to support their families with basic needs, and more girls potentially being forced into early marriage.
Due to limited funding, provision of assistance to urban people of concern remained challenging throughout the year. Consequently, their access to basic needs and services in Khartoum was affected, leading to further vulnerabilities of these groups and a risk of them resorting to negative coping strategies.
Darfur witnessed a growing trend of returnees, but programming for durable solutions remained limited. Return villages are largely underdeveloped and in need of basic service infrastructure, rule of law institutions, livelihood programming, community capacity building (e.g. conflict management) and shelter to help address competition over scarce natural resources, such as land and water, which continues to impede sustainable return as a durable solution. 

Working environment

Trends in 2017 suggest that the level of armed confrontation in Darfur continues to subside, particularly in the relatively stable West Darfur and some parts of North Darfur where there has been a steady trend of IDP returns over the past two years. With slow but positive trends, it is expected that conditions would be conducive for the resolution of the IDP situation in significant parts of Darfur. However, returning communities continuously suffer from a difficult access to basic services, lack of infrastructure, shortage of economically and environmentally viable livelihoods, as well as distress related to personal and land tenure insecurity.
Despite positive developments, the recovery from decades of conflict will be challenging. The easing of economic sanctions in 2017 could start to propel marginal, but noticeable, economic improvements for both refugees and host communities.
Sudan continues to be a source, transit and destination country for irregular mixed movements, including asylum-seekers and refugees using the East African North-bound migratory route through Libya to Europe. Trafficking, kidnapping and smuggling of people, remain major protection concerns. The eastern part of the country is expected to remain the entry point for primarily Eritrean migrants and refugees who mostly continue to transit through Khartoum before making their onwards journey to Europe.
The situation in the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen is expected to remain fluid, hence significant number of new arrivals is expected to continue arriving to Sudan and settling in the capital as well. South Sudan conflict is unlikely to end and declaration of famine in parts of the country and increasing violence are likely to continue to cause external displacement with significant numbers of South Sudanese refugees crossing into Sudan.
The now relaxed requirement of Travel Permits allows more effective humanitarian access. It is anticipated that the Government would engage both humanitarian, developmental actors and the human rights monitoring mechanisms.
While the primary responsibility to protect refugees rests with the Government of Sudan, UNHCR provides support to the Government’s Commission for Refugees to coordinate the refugee response in Sudan. The Refugee Consultation Forum that was established in 2016 will continue to be the main, high-level coordination forum for all refugee situations within Sudan, whether undertaken in camp, rural or urban settings, or for new or protracted operations. UNHCR will continue to lead the Protection Cluster Working Group, share information and coordinate protection response activities. UNHCR, as the Emergency Shelter/NFI sector lead, will continue to coordinate the activities of over 35 NGO partners ensuring that there are no overlaps or gaps in activities.

Key priorities

Access to territory for Eritrean and South Sudanese refugees will continue to be ensured. To combat trafficking, UNHCR will work with partners under the existing strategy, and ensure that the National Committee to Combat Trafficking is functional. UNHCR will monitor detention facilities and intervene to prevent forcible returns and conduct advocacy on statelessness, including training and capacity-building on international refugee law. Support will be provided to law enforcement agencies to deal with traffickers. Child protection activities will continue with an emphasis on family reunification and responsible foster care arrangements, coupled with appropriate follow-up.
In East Darfur, West and South Kordofan, and White Nile State, additional support will be provided to law enforcement officials and communities to ensure protection from violence due to the ethnic divisions of the refugee populations. In the East, country-wide, community outreach, sexual and gender-based violence prevention and response, and sensitization of local authorities will be pursued. In the camps for South Sudanese refugees, the civilian nature of the institution of asylum will be underlined and intensive training and advocacy will be a priority.
Providing alternatives to onward movements will be used to reduce vulnerabilities associated with clandestine departures from camps, especially in the East, where people of concern are more likely to move onward. They will be sensitized to the dangers of onward movement, using the UNHCR-facilitated ‘Telling the Real Story’ project. Donor support will be mobilized for tertiary education, as the youth are inclined to move on in search of better education prospects.
Support will be given to host communities to promote peaceful co-existence, and those communities will have access to services that are uniquely available in camps.
The Alternatives to Camps and Urban Refugees policies will be promoted in order to achieve social cohesion with host communities, and smooth integration will be consolidated.
In 2018, UNHCR will continue to address statelessness by supporting access to legal aid and procedures for confirming nationality and documentation for South Sudanese at risk of statelessness. Birth registration and documentation will also be a priority.
UNHCR will continue to lead the protection sector with a priority given to capacity building for humanitarian partners, including governmental institutions, and advocacy for durable solutions.
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

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  • Spain
  • Oman

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  • United Arab Emirates

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  • Kuwait

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  • Saudi Arabia

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