This is the eighth Protection Trends report prepared by the South Sudan Protection Cluster (PC) in close collaboration with Child Protection, SGBV and Land Mines and Explosive Remnants of War sub-clusters, and other protection actors.
The report provides an overview of the protection situation highlighting the main threats to civilians that have caused displacement, and describes trends on issues reported and observed in the second and third quarters of 2016 (1 April through 30 September).
A detailed description of the main confl ict displacement areas, obstacles to return, and specifi c sections on the threats against children, gender-based violence, and landmines and explosive remnants of war is also included. The report also examines certain trends since the crisis started in December 2013 with the data available.
Recommendations for the humanitarian community, the UN Mission (UNMISS) and the government of South Sudan are also provided.
OVERVIEW OF PROTECTION THREATS
With the return of opposition leader and First Vice-President designate Dr. Riek Machar and the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity upon his return in April 2016, many considered this as a step forward for the Peace Process. This was an opportunity for the President and First VP to start to work together on the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Confl ict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) signed by both in August 2015. There was even optimism that there was now a chance for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to return, and Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) started to plan with the government to create a strategy for return of IDPs and durable solutions. However few aspects of the ARCSS were implemented over the next months while increasing confl ict in Greater Bahr el Ghazal, the Equatoria region and leading up to the July Confl ict in Juba resulted in Machar fl eeing again from the country. In addition to no progress with the Agreement, the 28 states decree by the President in October 2015, and subsequently, further establishment of new counties in some new states, was pursued by the President and opposed by the In Oppsition (IO) leaders and many communities.
This creation of new jurisdictions and control of areas, has contributed to increased tensions and protests over land ownership, resources and authority and further fragmentation of communities including in areas that were previously not affected by conflict. In some areas, this resulted in violent attacks against civilians by government forces causing displacement. As the previous PC Trends report identified confl ict in the Upper Nile and Western Bahr el Ghazal, conflict continued in these areas and increased in the Equatoria region where changes of the political authorities and demarcation of land took place, resulting in displacement during this reporting period. Since the fi rst quarter report, major incidents of human rights violations have been identified in Jonglei, Leer, the Upper Nile region, Western Bahr el Ghazal and the Equatoria region, including Juba, and both parties to the confl ict have used tactics that demonstrate a lack of commitment to international humanitarian law and the violation of human rights against civilians. Below are some specifi c examples of international humanitarian law and human rights violations that describe the current protection environment that is causing displacement.