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05 May 2016

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) at the UN Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Bentiu. Photo: Brendan Bannon/IOM 2015

“If We Leave We Are Killed: Lessons Learned from South Sudan Protection of Civilian Sites 2013-2016”: Report Launch

South Sudan – In December of 2013, violent clashes erupted across South Sudan, displacing nearly 2.4 million people. Fearing for their lives, thousands of civilians sought refuge at UN bases throughout the country. The protection of civilian (PoC) areas within the bases were not adequate to accommodate the tens of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) that arrived, and the UN and humanitarian actors struggled to provide protection, food, shelter, medical and other assistance required at these sites. As many as 200,000 IDPs continue to seek shelter in these UN PoC sites as they flee the vicious civil war.

Today, an independent report, “If We Leave We Are Killed: Lessons Learned from South Sudan Protection of Civilian Sites 2013–2016,” was launched in Juba to take stock of the PoC response to date and offer guidance for future action. The report, authored by Michael J. Arensen, was commissioned by IOM and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

The launch event included a panel discussion with key stakeholders, including the author, representatives from the UN peacekeeping mission, humanitarian organizations and Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPs Dr. Chaloka Beyani.

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IOM Response in South Sudan

South Sudan – Since the South Sudan crisis erupted in December 2013, IOM has provided lifesaving assistance to displaced and vulnerable people across the country. As of May 2016, needs in South Sudan remain immense, with nearly 1.7 million people internally displaced and more than 700,000 others seeking shelter in neighboring countries. Millions more are affected by violence, lack of food, malnutrition, disrupted livelihoods and economic stress.

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Protection of Civilians Site in Malakal, South Sudan

South Sudan  On 17-18 February 2016, armed militia entered UNMISS Malakal Protection of Civilians (PoC) site. Nineteen people were killed and 108 injured. A large number of shelters belonging to the Nuer and Shilluk were burned to the ground. All internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the Dinka and Darfuri tribes in the PoC went to Malakal town before and during the fighting. Another 30,000 Shilluk and Nuer IDPs fled the PoC area to seek protection in the UNMISS base. They now live in desperate conditions. Humanitarian agencies are currently rebuilding the site.

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Migration in the News

  • Lusaka Times, Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail reported on the 2nd Intra-Regional Forum on Migration in Africa, organized by IOM, COMESA and the African Union in Lusaka, Zambia.

  •, Spiegel Online, Welt, Deutsche Welle reported on the visit of the German and French Foreign Ministers to Niger, including a visit to an IOM shelter in Niamey.

  •, epd and n-tv reported that according to IOM, an estimated 184,546 migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe by sea this year and 1,357 have drowned. Many have been West Africans, particularly Nigerians, fleeing the Boko Haram insurgency.

  • RT reported that European Commission wants to fine EU member states EUR 250,000 for every refugee that they refuse to resettle.

  • Reuters reported that Turkey's parliament has passed new legislation that should allow the European Commission to declare that the country has broadly met the criteria required to grant its citizens visa-free EU travel.

  • Nepal’s Republica reported that UN agencies and IOM spent USD 240 million on emergency relief in the eight months following the devastating earthquake of April 2015.

  • Radio New Zealand and AFP reported that four Kiribati men rescued after drifting for nearly a month in the Pacific have arrived in the Marshall Islands and will be repatriated.

  • Christian Science Monitor reported that the US has granted USD 48 million in federal funds to move the entire community of Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana to a drier location in the first operation of its kind.

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  • A new World Bank report has found that global fresh water scarcity, exacerbated by climate change, could hinder economic growth, spur migration and spark conflict.

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