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

South Sudan
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2,202,059* South Sudanese refugees in the region as of 31 October 2019 (pre- and post-Dec 2013 caseload).

65,669* South Sudanese refugee’s arrivals so far in 2019, with 4,389 refugee arrivals in October 2019.

297,135 Refugees in South Sudan and 1.46 million IDPs with 12% inside six UNMISS Protection of Civilians sites.


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

63% of the South Sudanese refugee population are children (under the age of 18 years old)

2,795,827 2019 Regional RRP Planning figure for the total South Sudanese refugees projected in the region by 31 December

Regional Highlights

  • On 30 October, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir declared a state of emergency in the flood-hit areas of the country. The state of emergency was issued through a presidential order covering 30 counties in Greater Bahr El Ghazal, Upper Nile and Equatoria regions. The order urged government and humanitarian organizations to mobilize in assisting people in need in South Sudan which includes IDPs, refugees and host communities.

  • In a visit to Juba on 20 October, members of the UN Security Council urged leaders to expedite implementation of a 2018 peace agreement aimed at ending six years of ongoing conflict. The 15 ambassadors described their visit as an opportunity to secure lasting peace in the country. However, key outstanding issues remain which are having an impact on the progression of the peace process. They include decisions on states and boundaries, as well as the reunification of security forces. Members held lengthy meetings with President Kiir, Mr. Machar and other signatories to the peace agreement, urging them to expedite its implementation.

  • On 31 October, the Government of South Sudan participated in a regional intergovernmental conference entitled “Delivering the Global Compact on Refugees: Local Approaches to Inclusion” bringing together States and stakeholders from the East and Horn of Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Conference enabled South Sudan to share experiences and identify opportunities on a peer to peer level with other IGAD member states to achieve the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees, with a focus on local approaches to the inclusion of refugees within their host communities. The Conference was organized by the Ethiopian Ministry of Peace, in partnership with the Danish Government and UNHCR.

 IGAD convened a meeting of Regional and International Special Envoys to South Sudan took place from 25-26 October in Djibouti. The meeting took stock of the implementation of pre-transitional tasks of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) and aimed to coordinate efforts in mobilizing the required support to the peace process in South Sudan.

The meeting was convened by Dr. Ismail Wais, IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, Dr. Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, Kenya’s Special Envoy to South Sudan, Amb. Jamal El Sheikh, the Sudan Special Envoy to South Sudan, Betty Bigombe, Technical Advisor to the President of Uganda on the South Sudan Peace Initiative, Prof. Amb. Joram Biswaro, Head of African Union Mission in South Sudan, Parfait Onanga Anyanga, UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, and David Shearer, the Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the UN Mission in South Sudan were in attendance. The Envoys underscored the need for the Parties to recommit and redouble efforts in the implementation of the RARCSS and agree on mutually acceptable and all-inclusive solutions on pending pre-transitional tasks that place the interest of the South Sudanese people at the center. In this regard, the Envoys called upon regional and international partners to provide the much needed political and material support to the peace process in South Sudan.

  • On 24 October, the Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, told the Security Council that Sudan and neighbouring South Sudan “have never been closer” to reaching a sustainable peace with each other, and their own internal armed opposition groups. The meeting was focused on the disputed, arid, oil-rich border territory of Abyei, where the UN Interim Security Force (UNISFA) has helped to monitor an uneasy peace without formal governance, and protect civilians, since 2011, in the weeks before South Sudan became independent from its northern neighbour. The UN Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, also briefed the Council, noting the “encouraging signs of progress” in relations between the countries.