The UN Refugee Agency welcomes the generous contribution of USD 1 million from the people of Japan to protect and assist displaced persons across South Sudan. Since the outbreak of the conflict in 2016, Japan has donated nearly $17 million to support vital assistance to those forced to flee their homes.
“The country is at a pivotal moment, with many people still vulnerable and displaced as the implementation of the peace agreement goes on,” said Adan Ilmi, the UNHCR Representative a.i. in South Sudan. “Generous donations such as this one from the Japanese people enable us to continue our work supporting refugees and internally displaced persons in South Sudan, ensuring that no one will be left behind.”
Japan’s donation will help support life-saving activities, such as healthcare, and equip forcibly displaced persons with the tools to rebuild their lives through education. Programs being supported include primary healthcare centres in Makpandu refugee camp and Lasu refugee settlement in Western Equatoria.
Located near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, these centres are on the frontline of Ebola prevention. Strengthening such health programs and facilities is even more critical as the county responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The donation will also bolster UNHCR’s data-driven approach to humanitarian aid, strengthening protection monitoring and response in internal displacement sites, areas of return, and at key border crossing points. While South Sudan has yet to address all the root causes of forced displacement, which is necessary to ensure the 2.2. million South Sudanese refugees in neighboring countries a safe and sustainable return, displaced families continue to come back in a self-organized manner. UNHCR, the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission and partners, which are monitoring the returnees protection needs, recorded 4,600 spontaneous returns in May.
“This assistance shows Japan’s strong and faithful commitment to addressing the basic needs of the most vulnerable populations,” H.E. Seji Okada said. “The assistance to UNHCR comes during a critical time in South Sudan. Japan applauds the partnership between the Government of South Sudan and UNHCR to assist displaced populations and the most vulnerable, while supporting South Sudan’s efforts for its development.”
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Additional information for journalists
Insecurity in neighboring countries has pushed more than 300,000 refugees into South Sudan. The country has a strong legal framework to protect refugees and offers nationals from several countries, including Sudan, prima facie refugee status. The country adopted the Refugee Act in 2012 [link], just one year after it was formally founded, and signed the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol in 2018 [link].
UNHCR supports refugees in 21 camps and settlements across South Sudan and is heavily involved in aiding the nearly 1.7 IDPs and IDP returnees through the country’s protection and camp management clusters.
UNHCR commends the South Sudanese government’s continued generosity in allowing those who are fleeing violence and persecution to seek international protection in South Sudan despite the challenges presented by managing a public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. New arrivals were registered in Western Equatoria State from both DRC (in early May) and CAR (in early June) due to renewed violence in their areas of origin. South Sudan maintained the asylum space while ensuring national and international guidelines to tackle the spread of COVID-19 were respected [link].
At the start of 2020, 79.5 million people were displaced globally due to conflict, persecution, violence or human rights violations. Twenty-six million of those are refugees. 68% of them (two thirds) come from just five countries: Syria,
Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar [link]. The number of people forced to flee their homes because of war, conflict and persecution globally nearly doubled in the last decade. In sub-Saharan Africa, the number has tripled since 2010. The East and Horn of Africa and Great Lakes region hosts more than 4 million refugees, 50% of whom are children. The South Sudan refugee crisis remains the largest in Africa and among the top 5 largest in the world, with 2.2 million refugees sheltered in Uganda (40%), Sudan (more than 35%), Ethiopia,
Kenya, and the DRC.