Internally Displaced Persons: Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement
Annexure I: Permanent Ceasefire and Security Arrangements Implementation Modalities and Appendices (Signed at Naivasha, Kenya on 31st December 2004)
PART I: The Ceasefire Arrangements
1. General and Fundamental Provisions
1.10. The Parties shall commit themselves to render and facilitate humanitarian assistance through creation of conditions conducive to the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance to displaced persons, refugees and other affected persons and their right to return;
8.6. To safeguard against the menace and hazards posed by landmines and unexploded ordnance, the Parties agree that:
8.6.4. The Parties shall conduct de-mining activities as soon as possible, and in coordination with the UN Peace Support Mission with a view to create the conditions necessary for deployment of the UN Peace Support Mission and the return of displaced populations;
22. Policing Issues and Domestic Security
22.1.4. Assist returning refugees, the displaced and other returnees to start a normal, stable and safe life in their respective communities;
The 2005 CPA provides that the parties were committed to humanitarian assistance to war-affected persons including IDPs and their rights to return. The parties were also committed to assisting returnees with starting normal, stable and safe lives in their respective communities. At the time of the signing of CPA in 2005, the United Nations Missions in Sudan estimated there were over four million conflict-caused internally displaced persons in Sudan.1 The International Displacement Monitoring Center estimated 5,355,000 IDPs in Sudan in 2005.2
By the end of the year, there had been over 500,000 spontaneous returns of IDPs and refugees in Sudan.3 The IDMC statistics suggest IDPs were not resettled back to their communities as the estimated IDPs did not change for 2006. The main concern remained the security situation of the communities to which the IDPs were returning. In this regard, the UNHCR would prepare communities to receive IDPs displaced within Sudan as well as refugees returning from neighboring countries. The UNHCR had built or rebuilt schools, hospitals, vocational training centers and water points not only for IDPs but to help entire communities.4
- 1. "Sudan IDP & Refugee Returns," Reintegration Operations Statistical Overview, accessed October 26, 2011, http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004CE90B/(httpDocuments)/FEED5CE5022A706CC125753E003F3046/$file/Returns_RRR-Jan09.pdf.
- 2. "Internal displacement caused by conflict and violence," IDMC, 2011, http://www.internal-displacement.org/IDMC_IDP-figures_2001-2010.pdf, accessed January 24, 2012.
- 3. "Report of the Secretary General on the Sudan," United Nations (S/2005/821), December 21, 2005.
- 4. "Sudan; First UN-Organized Repatriation of Southern Sudan's Refugees Gets Under Way," Africa News, December 19, 2005.
The International Displacement Monitoring Center estimated there were 5,355,000 IDPs in Sudan in 2006.5 This suggests no significant resettlement of IDPs took place in 2006. The UNMIS statistics, however, indicates that 7,432 IDPs were assisted with returning back to their communities.6 Ongoing conflicts as well as a lack of funding for programs posed a direct threat to the return of IDPs.7
As of August 2007, some 85,000 IDPs and refugees returned back to their communities with assistance from the UN as part of the joint plan agreed to by the national and southern governments and the United Nations.8 An estimated 45,355 IDPs returned home in 2007.9 The IDMC, however, suggests that the estimated number of IDPs actually increased in 2007 to 5,800,000.10 This, however, does not suggest that efforts were not made with regards to returning IDPs. Between January 23 and early February of 2007, some 747 IDPs returned home in eight convoys. Those returnees were part of an estimated 15,000 IDPs who UNHCR helped to return under an agreement signed the previous year by the world body, Sudan's Government of National Unity and the Government of South Sudan.11 Nevertheless, funding for humanitarian assistance, as well as a fragile security situation, hindered the return of IDPs to their communities. It was estimated that up to 160,000 people were displaced to Darfur since the beginning of 2007 alone.12
- 8. "Report of the Secretary-General on the Sudan," United Nations (S/2007/500), August 20, 2007.
- 9. "Sudan IDP & Refugee Returns," Reintegration Operations Statistical Overview, accessed October 26, 2011, http://www.internal-displacement.org/8025708F004CE90B/(httpDocuments)/FEED5CE5022A706CC125753E003F3046/$file/Returns_RRR-Jan09.pdf.
- 10. "Internal displacement caused by conflict and violence," IDMC, 2011, accessed January 24, 2012, http://www.internal-displacement.org/IDMC_IDP-figures_2001-2010.pdf.
- 11. "Sudan; UN-Aided Return of Displaced Persons to Blue Nile State Gathers Pace," Africa News, February 13, 2007.
- 12. "Sudan; Over 160,000 Have Been Displaced since January," Africa News, October 9, 2007.
As of October 2008, the UNHCR assisted 28,151 IDPs with returning home, which brought the total number returned to 80,938.13 This figure includes only those who returned to southern Sudan. Resettlement in Darfur, where a civil war was ongoing for the fifth consecutive year and Abyei, where clash took place in May 2008 did not take place. According to the report of the U.N. Secretary General, of the approximately 50,000 individuals displaced, between 12,000 and 16,000 returned voluntarily to Abyei.14 According to a news report that quoted UNHCR, some two million southern Sudanese who were internally displaced had returned to their homes since the signing of the peace agreement.15 The IDMC reported that the number of IDPs for Sudan declined to 4,900,000 IDPs.16 This suggests that about one million IDPs returned to their community in 2008.
The U.N. Secretary General’s report suggested that the organized return of IDPs reached 8,687 as of July and over 90,000 when the peace process started in 2005. This figure does not include the number of spontaneous returns--over 120,000 returned spontaneously from northern Sudan to southern Sudan.17 By October of that year, approximately 9,100 IDPs returned to southern Sudan under the joint plans initiated by the UNHCR. An estimated 1.9 million IDPs had returned spontaneously to their place of origin since 2005.18 Violence was one of the factors that contributed to the delay in the return of IDPs. LRA violence displaced 54,000 people within Southern Sudan.19 Continued violence in Darfur and Abyei slowed the return of IDPs. Furthermore, the land rights issue contributed to a delay in the return of IDPs as land was cultivated by others in their absence.20
- 17. "Report of the Secretary General on the Sudan," United Nations (S/2009/357), July 14, 2009.
- 18. "Report of the Secretary General on the Sudan," United Nations (S/2009/545), October 21, 2009.
- 19. "Report of the Secretary General on the Sudan," United Nations (S/2009/357), July 14, 2009.
- 20. "Sudan; Land Rights Hinder Darfur IDP Returns," Africa News, November 25, 2009.
Most of the focus on issues related to IDPs shifted upon the return of southerners who went to the north to escape the conflict. The government of Southern Sudan, in collaboration with the Repatriation Taskforce formed by South Sudan Referendum Commission, started repatriating Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Khartoum to South Sudan by air, beginning in November 2010.2121 As a matter of fact, Abyei received the first group of 1,200 IDPs returning from north.22 Over 28,000 IDPs had returned from northern to southern Sudan by December 15, 2010.23 According to U.N. Secretary General’s report, the Government of Southern Sudan had estimated as many as 150,000 people would have returned from northern Sudan by the end of March 2011, just before the referendum.24
- 21. "Southern Sudan Begins Repatriation of IDPs from North Ahead of Referendum," BBC Monitoring Middle East, November 26, 2010.
- 22. "Sudan; Abyei Receives First Batch of IDPs Returning From North Sudan," Sudan Africa News, November 22, 2010.
- 23. "Over 28,000 IDPs Return from North to Southern Sudan Ahead of Referendum," BBC Monitoring Middle East, December 16, 2010.
- 24. "Report of the Secretary-General on the Sudan," United Nations (S/2010/681), December 31, 2010.
As South Sudan decided to became an independent state in a referendum, relief agencies had expected that some 800,000 northerners would return to the South Sudan, of which 200,000 had already returned by early February.25 Once South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July 2011, the 2005 CPA provision on IDPs became obsolete.
- 25. "800,000 to Return to South Sudan from North: UNHCR," Agence France Presse, February 11, 2011.