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UNHCR Sudan Operations: Sudan situation update 89, Aug 2008

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The September/October issue of Foreign Affairs includes an essay by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres. In 'Millions Uprooted: Saving Refugees and the Displaced', Guterres explains how war and human rights violations are scattering millions of people across the world in search of safety. Meanwhile, globalisation, with its attributes of economic expansion, unresolved poverty and enduring insecurity, is prompting many people to leave their homes in search of a better life. Climate change and environmental degradation are also exacerbating these trends. You can download the article at www.foreignaffairs.org

General Developments

Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV)

A UNHCR SGBV resource person completed a mission to support the Sudan operation to deal with challenges in addressing sexual and gender based violence (SGBV). The mission engaged different stakeholders (government, NGOs, CBOs, community leaders, UN agencies) to establish mechanisms for the prevention and response to SGBV, conduct training on SGBV guiding principles and case management procedures and reach consensus on roles and responsibilities of different actors.

The mission also facilitated the drafting of SGBV Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the South and East of Sudan and Blue Nile State. The process involved discussions and negotiations with relevant stakeholders using a cooperative multi-sectoral approach. A number of gaps and challenges were identified during the process: lack of safe places or friendly environments accessible to survivors to report to and receive adequate assistance; lack of trained and competent staff to deal with SGBV incidents and provide emotional support to survivors and family members; limited facilities available at hospitals to treat SGBV survivors; harmful traditional beliefs and cultural practices in the communities; lack of coordination among stakeholders and lack of referral systems and appropriate information sharing. Plans of action were developed to address these challenges and to ensure full implementation of the SOPs.