Sudan: Durable solutions elusive as southern IDPs return and Darfur remains tense
Residents of Kalma IDP camp in South Darfur return to their villages of origin in West Darfur. (UN Photo, December 2010)
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31 December 2012
There were an estimated 2.23 million IDPs across Sudan as of the end of 2012, a year marked by tensions and border clashes with South Sudan, the escalation of armed conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile between government forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) and an increase in violence in Darfur.
Renewed violence, including militia attacks, aerial bombing and inter-communal clashes forced an estimated 90,000 people to flee their homes in Darfur. A total of 1.43 million IDPs were still registered in camps and receiving food assistance in the region, though some returns did take place. The figure is 500,000 down on previous years, following a WFP re-registration process.
Data on internal displacement in South Kordofan and Blue Nile is extremely limited because of access restrictions, but as of the end of the year the two states were estimated to be hosting at least 500,000 and 120,000 IDPs respectively, double the number 12 months previously. There were also around 68,000 IDPs in eastern Sudan as of 2010, the last time figures were made available.
Physical security remains a core protection concern across Sudan. In Darfur, armed groups have attacked camp residents and IDPs, particularly women and girls, face the threat of sexual and gender-based violence, including rape. There was also less access to health services in the camps in 2012 as a result of rising medicine costs and government restrictions on the transport of medical supplies. The joint AU and UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur, UNAMID, struggled to protect civilians and was itself frequently targeted in carjackings, looting and ambushes.
In July, its mandate was extended for another year.
Conflict-affected areas of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile experienced worsening food insecurity and malnutrition. In government-controlled areas of the latter two states, the authorities provided some humanitarian assistance with the support of local NGOs and international organisations, mainly in form of food and non-food items. Humanitarian access, however, remains a primary challenge throughout Sudan, the result of government restrictions, bureaucracy and insecurity.
Ongoing fighting, high levels of insecurity and a lack of basic services in many IDPs’ areas of origin are the primary obstacles to return movements.
In Darfur, however, improving security in some parts of the region allowed for the documented return of 91,000 IDPs during 2012, although in some cases the move was only seasonal or partial. It is thought that the majority of remaining IDPs in Darfur would prefer to integrate locally in or near urban centres.
The largest return movement of the year saw 155,000 people who had been internally displaced before the independence of South Sudan going home to their new country. A further 230,000 remain in Sudan. The majority of returnees are able to claim South Sudanese citizenship without too much difficulty, but some who are unable to process the paperwork needed to prove their nationality are at risk of statelessness.
Sudan is a signatory to the Great Lakes Pact, but it is still to sign the Kampala Convention. The country adopted a national policy on IDPs in 2009, but few concrete steps have been taken to implement it and any benefits for IDPs have been limited.
Two memoranda of understanding intended to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid in South Kordofan and Blue Nile were not implemented because the government and SPLM-N failed to agree action plans and as a result access continues to be denied. The main armed groups in Darfur continue to reject the Doha Document for Peace, which includes important provisions for durable solutions, and the government is yet to provide the necessary investment to implement it.
The Four Freedoms agreement signed by Sudan and South Sudan in September 2012 should enable citizens of both to travel, live, work and own property in either country. The mechanisms and procedures to implement the agreement were not in place, however, as of the end of the year.
The 2012 CAP humanitarian appeal for Sudan requested more than $1 million, of which only 56 per cent was donated. Protection, which is key for IDPs’ access to their rights, was one of the three least-funded clusters.
Sudan: Amos describes ‘desperate conditions’ for 300,000 displaced in Darfur (30 May 2013)
Last week, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos visited Sudan’s eastern region of Darfur to draw attention to the recent escalation in violence and conflict, which has forced 300,000 people to leave their homes since the beginning of the year. Amos reported the “desperate conditions” she witnessed in Zam Zam camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in North Darfur, amplifying other claims of dire security, food and health conditions in these camps due to reduced humanitarian access and lack of funding.
Of those newly displaced, at least 276,000 were previously displaced within the last five months. This is three times the total number IDMC reported of people newly displaced in all of 2012, and more than the combined total number of people newly displaced in 2011 and 2012. They fled increased intertribal fighting as well intensified armed conflict between government forces and armed opposition groups.
With the armed groups in Darfur recently forming a coalition with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, the on-going violence and displacement in these three regions highlights the need for a comprehensive rather than piecemeal solution to effectively end the conflict in Sudan.
Sudan: Over 150,000 people forced to flee in Darfur in 2013 (18 April 2013)
A resurgence of violence in Darfur has prompted the internal displacement of at least 150,000 people in the first 3 months of 2013. Fighting is on-going in central Darfur and has spread to South Darfur, despite a cessation of hostilities agreement signed by the conflicting parties on 10 April.
While reports indicate that some 50,000 people from Central Darfur state sought refuge in Chad in the second week of April, information on displacement inside Darfur remains limited as access constraints limit humanitarian assessments . Such a mission is critically needed to gauge scope and scale of the internal displacement, as well as to identify the needs of IDPs. Further, the access of a joint UN and AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) attempting to assess the situation was reportedly blocked by Sudanese authorities.
In East Darfur, fighting between government forces and the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi has displaced 18,000 people to UNAMID’s sites in Muhajiriya and Labado this month. Needs assessments are planned for as soon as security allows.
At the end of 2012, at least 1.4 million people remained in IDP camps in Darfur. Concrete steps must be taken by all actors to implement the provisions of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, if continued violence and new displacement in 2013 is to cease.
Sudan: Tribal clashes in Darfur force 70,000 to flee this month alone (17 January 2013)
Tribal clashes in North Darfur, Sudan have forced an estimated 70,000 people from their homes since the beginning of this month. Reports indicate that on 5 January, violence erupted between the Abbala and Benni Hussein tribes over the control of gold mines in the Jebel Amer area, including the looting and burning of villages perpetrated by both sides.
People sought refuge in schools, local public buildings, or with host families across several towns in the area. After the fighting prevented the completion of an early assessment mission, a two-day assessment mission by the joint African Union and United Nations peacekeeping force in Darfur (UNAMID) in mid-January found the newly displaced people to be in dire need of access to water, food, healthcare, and basic non-food items. IDPs also urgently need adequate shelter and blankets to brave the winter cold.
Even with a number of IDPs within Darfur returning to their homes in 2012, renewed fighting in the region – militia attacks, aerial bombing and tribal clashes – has forced at least90,000 people to flee over the last year. At the end of 2012, at least 1.4 million IDPs were still living in camps in the region.
Sudan: With 2.4 million displaced, special rapporteur presses for comprehensive solutions (14 December 2012)
The number of people internally displaced in parts of Sudan has increased significantly since last year. Recent fighting has left 1.7 million internally displaced in Darfur, despite some returns, while as many as 557,000 people in South Kordofan and a further 138,000 in Blue Nile State are thought to be internally displaced or severely affected by violence. Some 2.4 million people are currently thought to be displaced across Sudan.
On a recent mission to Sudan, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) pressed the Sudanese authorities and other peace-building actors to focus on the human rights, development and durable solution needs of IDPs across the country. He called for the safe, informed and voluntary return of those of South Sudanese origins to South Sudan, while urging the application of existing agreements including the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur and the Four Freedoms Agreement.
Beyani also called on the Government of Sudan to ratify the Kampala Convention, which entered into force last Thursday.
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Internal Displacement Profile
"Causes, Background and Patterns of Movement","Overview of the Causes of Displacement in Sudan","Causes and Patterns of IDP Movements (by region)"
"IDP Population Figures","Numbers of IDPs (by location)","Number of returnees"
"Southern Sudan","Physical Security and Integrity","Basic Necessities of Life","Property","Livelihoods","Education and other Economic","Social and Cultural Rights","Family Life","Participation","Access to Justice","Documentation and other Civil and Political Rights","Protection of Special Categories of IDPs (Age","Gender","Diversity)"
"The Three Areas","Overview"
"Darfur","Physical Security and Integrity","Basic Necessities of Life","Property","Livelihoods","Education and other Economic","Social and Cultural Rights","Family Life","Participation","Access to Justice","Documentation and other Civil and Political Rights","Protection of Special Categories of IDPs (Age","Gender","Diversity)"
"Khartoum","Physical Security and Integrity","Basic Necessities of Life","Property","Livelihoods","Education and other Economic","Social and Cultural Rights","Family Life","Participation","Access to Justice","Documentation and other Civil and Political Rights","Protection of Special Categories of IDPs (Age","Gender","Diversity)"
"Durable Solutions (Return, Local Integration, Settlement Elsewhere in the Country)","Durable Solutions (by region)"
"National and International Response","National Response","International Response","Recommendations by the UN and International Human Rights Bodies"
Previous Profile updates
- Key Documents
- Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation in Abyei, UN SC, 23 March 2012
- Sudan Humanitarian Update (4th Quarter 2011), UN OCHA, 31 January 2012
- Report of the Secretary-General on UNAMID, UN SC, 30 December 2011
- Sudan: UN and Partners Work Plan 2012, UN OCHA, 9 December 2011
- Sudan: Response to Recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), UPR-info, 14 September 2011
- Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohamed Chande Othman, UN GA, 22 August 2011
- Preliminary report on violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Southern Kordofan from 5 to 30 June 2011, OHCHR, August 2011
- Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in the Sudan, UN SC, 5 July 2011
- National Policy on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Republic of the Sudan, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, 2009
- Policy Framework for the return of displaced persons in a post-conflict Sudan, Humanitarian Aid Commission and the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, 13 July 2004