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South Sudan Situation: UNHCR Regional Update (1-31 May 2019)

South Sudan
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2,317,570* South Sudanese refugees in the region as of 31 May 2019 (pre- and post-Dec 2013 caseload).

11,767* South Sudanese new refugee arrivals in May 2019.

298,069 Total refugee population in South Sudan recorded so far in 2019.


4.3 million persons of concern (South Sudanese refugees in the region;
South Sudanese IDPs and refugees in South Sudan)

80% of the South Sudanese refugee population are women and children, 63 per cent being only children (under the age of 18 years old).

1.83 million Number of IDPs in South Sudan as of May 2019,

Regional Highlights

  • From the 13-23 May, the Regional Refugee Coordinator and Special Advisor for the South Sudan Situation, Mr. Arnauld Akodjenou, carried out an advocacy mission to the United States of America (Washington and New York) and Canada (Ottawa) to meet with various humanitarian, development, political and other key interlocutors positioned to bolster the support for the South Sudanese persons of concern protection needs and solutions. As the largest scale forced displacement on the African continent, the South Sudanese situation is also a children’s catastrophe. The response encompasses four main challenges: ease pressures on refugee hosting countries; enhance refugee self-reliance; expanding access to third country solutions and ensuring South Sudanese refugees are not left behind in line with a coordinated whole of society approach envisaged by the Global Compact on Refugees.

  • The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) jointly released the revised 2019-2020 Uganda Refugee Response Plan (RRP). The revision is a result of an exercise of planning figures, targets and budgets with a reduced refugee population as of year-end 2018 which started last February. With a new baseline population of 1.19 million refugees as of 31 December 2018, RRP partners revised their plans to cater for 1.31 million refugees by the end of 2019 and 1.30 million refugees by the end of 2020 contrary to the initial projections of 1.74 million by year-end 2019 and 1.73 million by year-end 2020.

  • On May 2019, UNHCR carried out an intention survey on South Sudanese refugees.
    The refugee intention survey was based on a sample size, which is representative of refugee settings in all six countries of asylum hosting South Sudanese refugees in the East Horn and Great Lakes hosting namely: Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. A total of 6,587 South Sudanese refugees were interviewed by UNHCR staff across the region. The survey was initiated against the backdrop of some 147,000 refugees reported to have spontaneously returned to South Sudan from asylum countries since mid-2017. The reports of returns are from various sources and are being confirmed through household verifications in areas which are accessible in South Sudan. While UNHCR recognizes the individual human right to return to one’s country, the current stance is that given the prevailing situation in South Sudan, conditions are not met for UNHCR to facilitate or promote returns of South Sudanese refugees. UNHCR calls on states to continue to grant international protection to South Sudanese refugees and has issued an updated April 2019 Position on Returns to South Sudan.

  • On 27-29 May, the Independent Boundaries Commission on South Sudan (IBC) in coordination with UNHCR, undertook a visit to Kakuma camp to meet South Sudanese refugees and seek their views on the number of states they see appropriate for South Sudan. The IBC was established on 18 March 2019 pursuant to Article 1.15.1 of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). This was a welcome development to include refugees in the peace process.