Return to a Displaced Nation – The Sudan Crisis and South Sudan’s Returnees

July 2023
D. P. Sullivan and A. B. Halakhe. (Refugees International)

This research report from Refugees International is one of series on internal displacement. It was prepared in response to the armed conflict in Sudan since mid-April 2023, between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF). The report focuses on the situation for former refugees from South Sudan who are spontaneously returning in large numbers, with no coordination or resettlement and repatriation planning. The violence in Sudan is noted to have displaced over three million people between April and July 2023, with over 700,000 seeking refuge in neighbouring countries, and 170,000 of those in South Sudan. Most of the returnees lack any means to travel to their communities of origin and many have been away a long time; property disputes in those areas are rife after a series of natural disasters and internal conflicts, so most of the new returnees lack a clear home to go back to. The report makes a series of recommendations for the Government of South Sudan, UN agencies, and the US and other donors, to deal with the crisis in the short-term, and it provides a useful background to understanding the longer-term issues around land and property rights that will need to be carefully addressed.