Protection Cluster, Trends Paper January-March 2015
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n 15 December 2013, fighting erupted in Juba among members of the Presidential Guard, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) subsequently split between forces loyal to the Government and those loyal to former Vice-President Riek Machar. In the days that followed, the conflict spread to the three States of Greater Upper Nile (Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile), where the SPLA disintegrated, often along ethnic lines. Since then, the conflict has had a devastating effect on the people of South Sudan, forcing over two million people from their homes and creating a major protection crisis. Despite a number of cessation-of-hostilities agreements as well as high-level international and regional engagement, the conflict continues.
This report is the fourth in a series of Protection Trends papers prepared by the South Sudan Protection Cluster in close collaboration with the three sub-clusters and other protection actors.1 Recognizing that protection issues in South Sudan are numerous and complex, this paper focuses on a selection of key trends reported between 1 January and early April 2015, summarized below.
Displacement continued during the reporting period, with a two per cent increase in the number of people who have been displaced internally and a seven per cent increase in the number of South Sudanese who have fled to neighbouring countries in search of protection. Populations continued to be on the move rather than find respite in new locations due to ongoing fighting, the need for assistance, and families running out of the resources needed to sustain their situation. This displacement continued to cause major family separation, and the number of newly-identified unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) grew steadily, as did the rates of family reunification. Flash points in the Equatorias and displacement to avoid forced military recruitment were also observed. Host communities struggled to accommodate both conflict- and flood-affected internally displaced persons (IDPs). Overall, this situation of protracted displacement is expected to continue throughout 2015, with limited prospects for durable solutions.