Brethfeld (2010). Unrealistic Expectations and Current Challenges to Reintegration in Southern Sudan.
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The disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) of Sudanese armed forces in the North, the South, and the Three Areas finally began in 2009, four years after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) called for the parties to do so. The intervening period was filled with protracted negotiations and planning, the establishment of national DDR institutions, and cooperation with international agencies. The delay meant the process began a mere two years before the end of the CPA’s six-year Interim Period and the referendum on Southern self-determination, planned for January 2011,2 and at a time of growing insecurity, political tensions, and financial turmoil. Despite the delay, expectations for the process are high in the South, though different parties see it as a means to different ends: of saving money spent on SPLA salaries; of improving socio-economic conditions; and of reducing insecurity. These expectations exist side by side with mounting concern about the overall feasibility of DDR and the risks involved in its implementation. This paper takes a critical look at the first, ongoing phase of the DDR process in Southern Sudan, and specifically at the reintegration component. It briefly outlines how DDR is currently implemented as well as its progress to date. It discusses the dynamics and challenges of reintegrating ex-combatants into local communities in light of the current security environment, and considers how to minimize risks of further destabilization and insecurity due to DDR.
The paper also looks at the feasibility of social and economic reintegration, considering both the socio-economic context and the specific social composition of the first group of ex-combatants to be reintegrated. In addition, it reflects on lessons learned from the reintegration of returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to highlight both the challenges and the opportunities ahead for the successful and sustainable reintegration of ex-combatants.