South Sudanese refugee situation, Democratic Republic of the Congo 10 - 16 July 2017
As of 15th July 2017, 81,298 South Sudanese refugees were registered or pre-registered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
During the first half of July 2017, 523 South Sudanese refugees were biometrically registered in the DRC. The number of new arrivals remained similar compared to the second half of June (561).
The Congolese Government allowed the use of the former refugee site “Kaka” in the Dungu territory (Haut-Uélé province) for the relocation of refugees from the border areas.
■ On 15th July, UNHCR received information from different sources alleging an increase in the number of refugees crossing the border with South Sudan in the vicinty of Kengezi base, Arile and Ulendere (Ituri province). UNHCR launched a border monitoring mission on 16th July to cover the different entry points and assess the movements.
■ The security situation remained relatively calm throughout the Faradje territory (HautUélé province) and Aru territory (Ituri province).
■ Security in the Dungu territory (Haut-Uélé province) remained a concern. Large and heavily armed alleged Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) elements reportedly looted goods, abducted several people and forced them to work. The situation was worst between Dungu and Limay (Duru axis) and between Dungu and Li-Ika (Ngilima axis).
The weak presence of the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) remained one of the factors favoring the circulation of the LRA. MONUSCO relaunched a weekly patrol between Bangadi and Nambia (Niangara territory).
Achievements and Impact
■ New arrivals – 355 South Sudanese refugees were biometrically registered during the reporting week; 93% thereof at the Meri site (Faradje territory, Haut-Uélé province) and 7% at the Biringi site (Aru territory, Ituri province). 54% of the newly registered refugees were girls and women in Meri, respectively 50% in Birinigi. As of 15th July 2017, the total refugee population amounted to 23,551 in Meri, and 2,791 in Biringi.
■ Allocation of new refugee site – The Congolese Government allowed the use of the former refugee site “Kaka” in the Dungu territory (Haut-Uélé province) for the relocation of the refugees, particularly from the Doruma and Bitima areas. At the time of reporting, the security situation impeded relocating the refugees from the border towards the new site.
■ Security – Biringi’s vigilance committee was reactivated and equipped with boots, torches, whistles and sticks to support the police force in securing the site.
■ Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) – 396 individuals in Meri and 45 in Biringi were taught about the prevention and response to SGBV. The victims of two newly reported SGBV cases in Biringi and two in Meri received medical and psycho-social support.
■ Child protection – In the first half of July, 31 best interest assessments for unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) were conducted in Biringi and a tennis match was organized to allow the UASC some recreational time. Four separated children were identified during the week’s biometrical registration in Meri.
Identified Needs and Remaining Gaps
■ Security – 52 additional police officers are urgently needed to secure the Meri site.
Today, 20 police officers are present whereas 72 are needed to reach the minimal standard for the 24,000 refugees living at the site. This gap is critical in view of the insecurity on the South Sudanese side of the border (less than 20 km away) and in absence of a strong Congolese military presence in the area, the refugees are highly exposed. Moreover, the vigilance committee of Meri requires equipment (whistles, boots, sticks and torches) in order to be able to perform its tasks within the community.
■ Prosecution – The prosecution of criminal offences remains challenging due to the absence of an adequate police force and the inexistence of administrative and judiciary institutions in the area of Meri. Moreover, the local prison is in a desolate state and does not allow detention for longer than 24 hours. Transport of detainees to the closest court in Dungu is problematic due to the poor security situation on this road section requiring systematic MONUSCO escort for humanitarians.