This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and its partners are jointly appealing for US$1.3 billion this year to address the vast humanitarian needs of refugees fleeing seven years of unrest and conflict in South Sudan.
We welcome the formation of the Transitional Government of National Unity of South Sudan. However, many challenges remain in finding solutions for millions of South Sudanese people forcibly displaced by years of conflict.
Africa’s biggest refugee population is from South Sudan. Some 2.2 million people have been forced to flee and an overwhelming majority – 83 percent – are women and children. An additional 2 million people are displaced inside the country.
Refugee arrivals continued in 2019, with more than 74,000 South Sudanese seeking refuge in Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
Funding is urgently needed to provide life-saving assistance. This includes care for 65,000 unaccompanied or separated refugee children, access to safe drinking water and action on sexual and gender-based violence. In addition, gaps persist in refugee education and there is a need for activities to allow refugees to gain skills to enable them to provide for themselves and their families.
Renewed support is needed for all five major refugee hosting countries, as they maintain an open door asylum policy. Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda have proved exceptional hosts and increasingly include refugees in their national social services. Progressive out-of-camp refugee policies are also being commendably applied by the governments of Sudan and the DRC and these merit greater support.
Since November 2017, more than 270,000 refugees have returned to South Sudan on their own initiative, but most of those who remain outside the country are waiting to see if peace holds.
The Regional Refugee Response Plan brings together 95 humanitarian and development partners to provide a coherent inter-agency response, supported by host governments across the five countries of asylum. It complements the $1.54 billion Humanitarian Response Plan for South Sudan launched in December 2019.
For more information on this topic, please contact:
- In Nairobi, Dana Hughes, email@example.com, +254 733 440536
- In Juba, Vi Tran, firstname.lastname@example.org, +90 211 01 2114
- In Kampala, Duniya Aslam Khan, email@example.com, +256 772 701 101
- In Geneva, Babar Baloch, firstname.lastname@example.org, + 41 79 513 95 49
Originally published by UNHCR on 13 March 2020