This is the ninth Protection Trends report prepared by the South Sudan Protection Cluster (PC) in close collaboration with Child Protection, Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and Land Mines and Explosive Remnants of War sub-clusters, and other protection actors.1 The report provides an overview of the protection situation reported and observed in the last quarter of 2016 and includes some information obtained in January 2017 to make this report more current.2 Information is gathered from partners in regional Protection Cluster meetings and PC actors’ missions to feld locations. A description of the main conﬂict displacement areas and specifc sections on the threats against children, gender-based violence, and landmines and explosive remnants of war and some identifed protection issues that impact on the protection of civilians is also included. Recommendations for the humanitarian community, the UN Mission (UNMISS) and the government of South Sudan are also provided.
OVERVIEW OF SITUATION
The acceptance of Taban Deng as the legitimate First Vice-President (FVP) now also means that the SPLM–IO, previously recognized as a legitimate political opposition, its members are now characterized as criminals or terrorists, and now outside the political process.3 The new approach by the government has partly led to the creation of new alliances of various rebel groups in the Equatoria region and in Western Bahr el Gazal with the former FVP Machar which has led to more conﬂict. There is an increased focus on ending the conﬂict through addressing it only as a security problem. There is less opportunity for meaningful political dialogue. Conﬂict is likely to continue and even increase causing people to continue to ﬂee both inside and outside of the country. The political changes have given rise to debate amongst some humanitarians of whether or not the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conﬂict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) signed by both in August 2015 is still valid. At the same time, there has been an increase of government restrictions to access persons of concern that are perceived to be aligned with the “IO” or residing in IO (aligned with Machar) controlled areas. As people continue to ﬂee to these areas, their access to basic services has deteriorated during this reporting period.