Over the last 50 years, the various conflicts afflicting South Sudan have caused massive displacements of people. Latest estimates suggest there are more than 1.5 million internally displaced people (IDPs) within the country’s borders, with another 2.2 million refugees displaced outside the country, as a result of the most recent conflicts. Policymakers generally see these populations as highly vulnerable—being less able to provide for themselves and their families away from their original homes—and at risk of involvement in cross-border conflict dynamics. Thus, responses by state actors to these movements tend to focus on managing potential conflict, providing humanitarian assistance for displaced communities, and supporting, facilitating or (in some cases) forcing populations to return to their home areas.
This report aims to better inform those working on humanitarian assistance, particularly to populations on the move, peace and development in South Sudan and the region, particularly international actors less familiar with these dynamics. Billions of dollars are spent on humanitarian and peacekeeping programmes globally every year, yet, despite being critical to the lives of millions of ordinary people, transnational networks are missing from most analyses. The report’s concluding section includes a set of recommendations intended to help international policymakers formulate an informed response to these transnational dynamics.