Refugees: 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;

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;

Implementation History


Intermediate Implementation

The 2005 CPA provides that the parties were committed to render and facilitate humanitarian assistance to war affected persons including refugees and their rights to return. The parties were also committed to assisting returning refugees to start a normal, stable and safe life in their respective communities. At the time of the signing of CPA in 2005, the UNHCR estimated some 693,632 Sudanese sought asylum status in different part of the world.1 The UNMIS estimate was over 500,000 refugees in neighboring countries.2

Over half a million former refugees were expected to return to southern Sudan.3 According to the U.N. Secretary General’s report, there had been over 500,000 spontaneous returns in the Sudan.4

The UNHCR had helped the first group of up to 150 southern Sudanese refugees return home from Kenya, which was said the beginning of the home-going of about 560,000 refugees from southern Sudan living in seven neighboring countries.5 The UNHCR estimated that some 70,000 to 80,000 South Sudanese refugees went home on their own from exile abroad in 2005.6

  • 1. "2005 UNHCR Statistical Yearbook-Sudan," UNHCR, 2007, October 26, 2011,, accessed.
  • 2. "Sudan IDP & Refugee Returns, Reintegration Operations Statistical Overview," accessed October 26, 2011,$file/Returns_RRR-Jan09.pdf.
  • 3. "Report of the Secretary General on the Sudan," United Nations (S/2005/57), January 31, 2005.
  • 4. "Report of the Secretary General on the Sudan," United Nations (S/2005/821), December 21, 2005.
  • 5. "UN to Help First Group of Southern Sudan Refugees Return Home," Xinhua General News Service, December 13, 2005.
  • 6. "Sudan; Agreement Signed for Refugee Return from Kenya," Africa News, January 13, 2006.

Intermediate Implementation

The humanitarian situation in southern Sudan remained stable and the increased assistance of the international community with the reconstruction or repair of some 370 kilometers of road supported the return of over 10,000 refugees to southern Sudan.7

In January 2006, Sudan and Kenya, together with the UNHCR, signed a tripartite agreement in helping South Sudanese refugees return home from Kenya. This agreement was one of seven that the UNHCR had expected to sign with neighboring countries which would clear return of some 70,000 refugees to south Sudan in the first half of 2006.8 The tripartite agreement with Kenya was supposed to facilitate the return of some 10,000 Sudanese refugees from Kenya

There were several setbacks in refugee repatriation. The deteriorating security situation forced the UNHCR to reduce its operation in Darfur region.9 Similarly, increasing Lord’s Resistance Army activities in southern Sudan also hampered the return of refugees.10 As of early September, only 12,000 refugees went back to southern Sudan with UNHCR assistance due to lack of funds for repatriation.11 The cumulative number of refugees returning in 2006 was 25,811.12

  • 7. "Report of the Secretary General on the Sudan," United Nations (S/2006/728), September 12, 2006.
  • 8. "Sudan; Agreement Signed for Refugee Return from Kenya," Africa News, January 13, 2006.
  • 9. "UN Slashes Operations for Refugees in Sudan's Darfur," Xinhua General News Service, March 10, 2006.
  • 10. "Insecurity Hampering Return of South Sudan Refugees," Agence France Presse, March 18, 2006.
  • 11. "Sudan; Lack of Funds Threatens Refugee Repatriation - UNHCR," Africa News, September 19, 2006.
  • 12. "Sudan IDP & Refugee Returns, Reintegration Operations Statistical Overview," accessed October 26, 2011,$file/Returns_RRR-Jan09.pdf.

Intermediate Implementation

By mid-April 2007, it was reported that some 25,000 refugees returned home from five neighboring countries.13 To help facilitate repatriation of refugees, the UNHCR opened two new corridors from Ethiopia to Southern Sudan. It was estimated that, as of February 2007, there were some 328,000 refugees from Sudan in Uganda, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Egypt.14 The UNHCR was quoted saying that approximately 50,000 refugees had returned from Ethiopia and Central African Republic voluntarily.15 After the initiation of the refugee repatriation programs in December 2005, the UN-backed refugee return to southern Sudan hit the 157,000 person mark.16 The cumulative result of the organized return of refugees for 2007 was 50,932.17 More than 40% of the estimated 418,000 refugees in neighboring countries had returned home voluntarily by the end of 2007.18

Funding for humanitarian assistance, as well as a fragile security situation, hindered repatriation programs.  

  • 13. "Report of the Secretary-General on the Sudan," United Nations (S/2007/213), April 17, 2007.
  • 14. "Sudan; Nearly 9,000 More People Have Returned to Southern Region This Year - UN Mission," Africa News, March 27, 2007.
  • 15. "50,000 refugees returns to South Sudan," Suna News Agency, April 12, 2007.
  • 16. "UN-backed Refugee Return to Southern Sudan Hits 157,000," Xinhua General News Service, August 17, 2007.
  • 17. "Sudan IDP & Refugee Returns, Reintegration Operations Statistical Overview," accessed October 26, 2011,$file/Returns_RRR-Jan09.pdf.
  • 18. "Report of the Secretary-General on the Sudan," United Nations (S/2008/64), January 31, 2008.

Intermediate Implementation

The monsoon caused hazardous road conditions and brought the repartition of refugees to a complete halt. Nevertheless, the UNHCR reported in October that a total of 60,665 refugees returned to Sudan in 2008. The estimated cumulative returnees were 62,185 for 2008.19 By December 2008, some 290,000 refugees have returned to Sudan since the signing of the 2005 CPA and the UNHCR was said assisted half of them return home.20

Funding for humanitarian assistance as well as the fragile security situation hindered the repatriation programs.  

  • 19. "Sudan IDP & Refugee Returns," Reintegration Operations Statistical Overview, accessed October 26, 2011,$file/Returns_RRR-Jan09.pdf.
  • 20. "Commissioner on Sudan-Uganda Border Urges Refugees to Return Home," Sudan Tribune, December 25, 2008.

Intermediate Implementation

The security situation and funding remained the main challenge for the repartition of refugees in Sudan in 2009. In his October 2009 report to the U.N. Security Council, the Secretary General reported that the UNHCR and its assisted programs helped repatriate a total of 171,154 refugees, of whom fewer than 32,000 were repatriated since the beginning of 2009.21

  • 21. "Report of the Secretary-General on the Sudan," United Nations (S/2009/545), October 21, 2009.

Intermediate Implementation

According to a news report, some 330,000 refugees returned from exile, the majority of them with the help of UNHCR.22 It was also reported that the government of southern Sudan was planning to repatriate 1.5 million southern who fled to the north during the long civil war.23  Exact figure of returnees from the north, however, is not available. 

  • 22. "Sudan; Thousands Heading Back Ahead of Independence Vote – UN," Africa News, December 21, 2010.
  • 23. "Statement by Refugees International on the Government of Southern Sudan's Mass Repatriation Plans," Targeted News Service, August 27, 2010.

Intermediate Implementation

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.24 Once South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July 2011, the UNHCR, in its press release, stated that approximately 350,000 former refugees had returned to South Sudan over the past six years, and that the thousands of southerners were joining them from elsewhere in Sudan.25 This suggests that not all refugees returned to Sudan.

In addition, the refugee provisions of the CPA became obsolete as southern Sudan became the independent state of South Sudan. 

  • 24. "800,000 to Return to South Sudan from North: UNHCR," Agence France Presse, February 11, 2011.
  • 25. "UNHCR welcomes Republic of South Sudan," Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), July 10, 2011.