3 The humanitarian situation|
8. Since independence, humanitarian needs in the
Republic of South Sudan have remained acute, exacerbated by conflict,
natural disasters and a lack of basic services and jobs. During
late 2011 and early 2012, the humanitarian situation appeared
to deteriorate following a poor harvest, rising food prices, escalating
tribal violence and a significant influx of refugees from conflict-affected
border areas and returnees from the north.
The inability of South Sudan and Sudan to reach agreement on oil
revenues and other outstanding matters from the Comprehensive
Peace Agreement (CPA, see Box 1) has further humanitarian implications.
As explored in this Chapter, the combination of these challenges
threaten to derail DFID, and the international community's, development
efforts at this early stage of South Sudan's existence. DFID warns
that 2012 is likely to "present the biggest challenge to
humanitarian operations since the signing of the CPA in 2005".
|Box 1: The Comprehensive Peace Agreement 2005
The Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in January 2005 between the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the Government of Sudan. The CPA ended the Second Sudanese War and established a secular, semi-autonomous Southern Sudan within its own executive, legislative and judicial institutions. It provided for a six-year interim period until (until January 2011) by the end of which Southern Sudan would have a referendum on its independence. The CPA made provisions for Khartoum and Juba to agree a number of important matters before the referendum took place. But several issuesincluding border demarcation, the status of the oil-rich border region of Abyei, oil revenue sharing and debt sharingwere not resolved before the January 2011 referendum. It was decided to proceed with the referendum, and later with independence, with these matters unresolved rather than delay and risk renewed conflict.
Implications of the oil dispute
9. During the post-CPA period from 2005 to 2011 oil revenues from
production in Southern Sudan were split equally with Khartoum.
Following independence South Sudan acquired about 75% of the former
Sudan's oil outputalthough
it continued to rely on pipelines running north through Sudan
to a Red Sea port (Port Sudan) to export oil. A final settlement
on oil revenues has been one of the key sticking points in negotiations
between the two countries. There was agreement that South Sudan
would pay Sudan a fee for use of the pipelines (rather than a
share of revenues) but, as we heard in both Khartoum and Juba,
the two parties have very different views of what the fee rate
should be. In the
absence of an agreement, both sides have taken unilateral steps.
In December 2011, Sudan announced that it would take payment of
transit fees in kind, in other words siphoning off part of Juba's
share, as compensation for unpaid fees it claimed South Sudan
owed. Ships were
prevented from leaving Port Sudan until (the disputed) arrears
had been paid.
10. Matters escalated when Sudan reportedly seized
South Sudanese oil on 13 January 2012. On 20 January, South Sudan
said that it would stop the flow of oil through the Sudanese pipelines
and halt oil operations with immediate effect. The following week,
South Sudan and Kenya signed a memorandum of understanding to
build a pipeline between the two countries. It is thought this
will take several years to build and cost billions of dollars.
Mr Stephen O'Brien MP, DFID Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State,
questioned the wisdom of building a pipeline to Kenya given that
South Sudan's oil assets were expected to deplete over the coming
decade. The Government
of South Sudan (GRSS) has subsequently ceased production at all
its oil fields andgiven that oil accounts for 98% of government
incomeapproved austerity measures, including an average
50% reduction in non-salary expenditure and the elimination of
unconditional grants to state governments.
11. DFID says it is "very concerned" by
the GRSS's decisionwhich could have "major economic
consequences for both countries"and by the potential
for a "rapid rise in humanitarian needs."
DFID has been "clear" to GRSS that it would "not
bail South Sudan out".
The Minister told us in February that the South Sudanese stance
was "absolutely not in the interests of the broad population
of South Sudan" and posed a risk to DFID's development efforts:
"Maintaining our development programme and the humanitarian
aid element [...] will clearly be phenomenally challenged if we
find that South Sudan is not in a position or prepared to use
what revenues it can have to support its own basic services".
12. On 22 March 2012, the Secretary of State confirmed
to us that aspects of DFID's 2011-15 programme would be revised
as a result of the oil shut-down:
"There is a real possibility that the government
will deplete its financial reserves [as a result of the oil shut-down],
with an associated sharp reduction in the ability of government
to carry out core functions; and that we will see an uncontrolled
depreciation of the South Sudanese Pound, spiralling inflation
and a rapid increase in poverty. In this scenario, many of the
gains made since the signing of the CPA in 2005 could be wiped
"I have decided that we need to start a
sequenced process to refocus our development programmes away from
the government's longer term development agenda towards supporting
the most vulnerable and addressing life saving needs. If the current
shut-down persists, this will entail a substantial redirection
of resources away from the longer-term priorities set out in the
South Sudan Development Plan."
The Secretary of State gave examples of DFID projects
that would be put on hold or delayed, with immediate effect, including
in the health, education and governance sectors.
We discuss DFID's programme in Chapter 4.
Refugees from Abyei, Southern
Kordofan and Blue Nile
13. Conflict in the disputed border region of Abyei,
and in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states in Sudan, has resulted
in hundreds of thousands of refugees arriving in South Sudan over
the past year. In June 2011, 110,000 internally displaced persons
fled Abyei to the border town of Agok in South Sudan. Fighting
in ethnically-mixed Southern Kordofan
and in Blue Nile state, which broke out in mid-2011, has led to
almost 100,000 refugees arriving in South Sudan, mainly to Upper
Nile and Unity states. 46,000 refugees are based in Doro Camp
in Upper Nile Statewith around 2,000 new arrivals each
week. The humanitarian community is providing food, health, shelter
and protection assistance to 16,000 refugees from Southern Kordofan
at the refugee site in Yida, in Unity State. Over 36,000 more
refugees are estimated to be at other sites or located in border
agencies are involved in over 30 operations in the country but
are "stretched to capacity".
14. Sudan has carried out several aerial attacks
on targets in the border area since independence, some of them
on refugee camps within South Sudan. The UK has condemned these
attacks. Many NGOs
have stopped working in border states of South Sudan due to increased
conflict and risk of conflict.
Box 2: Perspectives of the North
Sudan and South Sudan have had a tense relationship since secession, with the oil dispute, frequent border clashes, and both sides accusing the others of supporting rebel groups in each other's territory. In the West, Sudan is often presented as the aggressor in these disputes. It was clear from out visit to Khartoum, however, that many Sudanese resent the negative portrayal of their country, especially as they co-operated with the secession of South Sudan and agreed to relinquish most of their oil fields. There is a common perception that Sudan has demanded $36 per barrel as a transit fee but the Sudanese claim that this figure also includes provision for transitional compensatory payments which it was agreed they would receive to help them adjust to the loss of oil revenue when South Sudan became independent.
15. Following independence, the Government of Sudan requested
that South Sudanese people living in the north determine their
citizenship and residency status by 8 April 2012. More than 360,000
people of South Sudanese origin have subsequently "returned"
since independence (many families have been based in the north
GRSS and the international community are attempting to accommodate
the returnees in settlements and residential areas, but resources
are stretched. Returnees are faced with multiple obstacles, ranging
from land disputes and security concerns to early and forced marriage,
due to economic hardship and lack of livelihood opportunities,
and tensions over access to food, water and firewood.
A January 2012 inter-agency assessment of returnee conditions
in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state found that in the areas where
returnees planned to settle, there was a lack of essential drugs
in all health facilities, limited access to safe drinking water,
an acute food shortage due to poor crop performance and a lack
of shelter and non-food items.
We visited returnees at the permanent Nyotic Angui settlement
in Lakes State and
in residential areas of Torit.
|Box 3: Discussions with returnees at Nyotic Angui settlement in Lakes and in residential areas of Eastern Equatoria, 4-5 December 2012
People told us of the difficulties they had faced on their journey from the north. Some people's luggage had been confiscated at the border; others had been wounded. There were few opportunities to gain employment, even for the many people who had previously had skilled employment in the north. It was difficult to know where to earn money. Many people spoke only Arabic, yet English had been declared the official language of the new South Sudan. Those in Nyotic Angui camp were dependent on food hand-outs. Water and sanitation facilities in the camp were extremely limited, with no proper toilets. Parents were concerned for their children's safety when going to the bush at night because there was a risk of attack by wild animals.
16. By March 2012 more than 500,000 people remained
in Sudan who were required to either regularise their residence
status or leave the country. The majority are expected to move
to South Sudan. The
Minister was "very concerned" at the "major cliff
edge facing us". There was a risk that people could find
themselves "stateless"or, more precisely, they
would not have legal statusbecause there was no South Sudanese
Ambassador in Khartoum to facilitate the process. DFID was engaged
with both Sudan and South Sudan to try to find a resolution. The
Minister stressed that DFID might need to "divert resources"
to assist returnees.
We note that Khartoum and Juba have subsequently signed a memorandum
of understanding to co-operate in the transfer of more than 300,000
people to the South. But the International Organisation for Migration
has said that the 8 April deadline represents a "massive
logistical challenge" to both governments and the international
are concerns that people of South Sudanese origin who remain in
the north could be victimised should continue to tensions escalate
between the two countries.
Tribal conflict and rebel militias
17. Tribal fighting continues in a number of states
as it has done for hundreds of years. In recent years, in a country
awash with small arms from the civil war, the stakes have been
significantly raised. In Jonglei State alonewhich has a
long tradition of violent conflict between tribes, clans and subclans
caused by cattle-raiding and competition for resourceshundreds
of people were killed and tens of thousands displaced in 2011.
An attack by the Lou Nuer tribe on Murle communities in Jonglei
State in December 2011 is estimated to have displaced 60,000 people,
with an unknown number killed (see Box 5 on page 35).
The Government of South Sudan declared Jonglei a disaster zone
and asked humanitarian agencies to accelerate life-saving assistance.
A revenge attack by the Murle tribe in March 2012 resulted in
at least 220 deaths.
Melinda Young, Save the Children, told us that the violence in
Jonglei was becoming "more brutal", with more civilians,
women and children targeted for abuse, including abduction and
18. Rebel militias have been active in South Sudan
throughout 2011, particularly in Jonglei, Upper Nile and Unity
states. Some are armed rebellions against the government, alleging
electoral fraud by the ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement
(SPLM), whilst others cite land issues or tribalism as a reason
for taking up arms. Four significant rebel groups signed peace
agreements with the GRSS but some others operating in Upper Nile
and Unity remain outside the fold. A serious attack took place
in October 2011 by the South Sudan Liberation Army on Mayom Town
in Unity state, which left at least 50 fighters and civilians
dead. Aid agencies were warned to leave a week previously.
19. In total, rebel militia attacks and tribal violence
displaced more than 350,000 South Sudanese people in 2011.
Giving evidence, Mr Stephen O'Brien MP, DFID Parliamentary Under-Secretary
of State, warned that "the current level of internal violence
and cross-border conflict is seriously threatening to, at the
very best, delay [DFID's] programme".
20. In January 2012 the UN's World Food Programme
estimated that around 2.7 million people (about one third of the
population) in South Sudan would require food aid in 2012an
increase from 1.4 million people in mid-2011. This was due to
increased food prices, conflict, market disruption from border
closures (with Sudan) and an increase in demand from returnees
and refugees. WFP
Country Director Chris Nikoi warned: "A gathering storm of
hunger is approaching South Sudan".
That same month the UN High Commissioner for Refugees described
the humanitarian situation in South Sudan as "acute"
and "fragile": the country could face a "humanitarian
disaster of enormous proportions".
21. Failure to reach agreement on the outstanding
matters from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement processmost
notably oil-revenue sharing, border demarcation and the status
of the disputed border region of Abyeithreaten the prospects
for peace and development within South Sudan's short lifetime
as an independent nation. We are deeply concerned at the prospect
of a humanitarian crisis given the loss of South Sudan's oil revenue,
combined with the increasing number of returnees and refugees
arriving in the country and ongoing inter-tribal violence.
22. The decision by the Government of South Sudan
(GRSS) to halt production on all its oilfields, despite undoubted
provocation from Sudan, has potentially grave economic and humanitarian
consequences for the South Sudanese population. It could also
precipitate instability in the country. The UK Government must
continue to press Khartoum and Juba to seek an equitable and sustainable
agreement on the export of oil through Sudan's pipelines. We do
not consider there to be any realistic alternative in the next
few critical years. It must also be made clear that the UK, and
other donors, cannot bankroll South Sudan through this austerity
23. We are concerned at the potentially unclear
legal status of hundreds of thousands of people of South Sudanese
origin living in the north. The UK Government must continue to
press Khartoum and Juba to find a resolution to ensure that those
who wish to move to South Sudan can do so safely, while those
who prefer to remain in the north can have their legal status
clarified. Many returnees to South Sudan are living in extremely
difficult circumstances and DFID should divert additional resources
to assist them if required.
24. DFID is operating in a difficult and fast-changing
environment. It has already had to re-focus its development programme
as a result of the pressures created by the oil shut-down. Given
the mounting humanitarian challenges, we recognise that the Department
may need to continue to modify its development plans and focus
to a greater extent on humanitarian assistance. The key priority
in South Sudan must be to prevent a humanitarian crisis. But,
if the country is to develop, it will need to invest in health,
education and infrastructure.
8 Ev 84 [DFID] Back
Ev 85 Back
350,000 barrels per day compared with the former Sudan's 500,000
bpd. Standard Chartered, "South Sudan-Oil in dispute",
27 January 2012. Back
Khartoum proposed the equivalent of $32-36 per barrel, although
this figure included provision for transitional compensatory payments
which it was agreed they would receive to help them adjust to
the loss of oil revenue following independence. South Sudan proposed
less than $1 per barrel. Back
Khartoum claimed South Sudan owed about $720m in outstanding fees
for the July to October period. Back
It has been reported that South Sudanese authorities expect such
a pipeline to take 11 months to complete, costing $1.5bn. Some
commentators believe this is "overly optimistic": difficult
geographical terrain means the construction would take three years
and cost a much higher amount. Standard Chartered, "South
Sudan-Oil in dispute", January 2012 Back
Q 83 Back
Ev 102; HL Deb, 27 February 2012, col 317WA Back
SS17c [DFID] Back
Qq 68-69 Back
Ev 104 Back
Abyei is located between Bahr el-Ghazal and Southern Kordofan
and sits just above the January 1956 boundary between Sudan and
South Sudan. The CPA signed in 2005 granted Abyei a special administrative
status and the prospect of a referendum in January 2011 to decide
whether to join what might then become an independent south. But
the referendum was blocked by the Government of Sudan over the
question of whether the nomadic, Arab Misseriya should be eligible
to vote, and the area remains a recurrent flashpoint. Both governments
have forces deployed there. Back
The fighting is largely between those whose loyalties lie with
either Khartoum or Juba but also incorporates ethnic and tribal
dimensions. Many within the 'southern' camp in Southern Kordofan
are ethnic Nubans, who sided with the South during Sudan's civil
war. They are fighting under the guise of the Sudan People's Liberation
Movement-North (SPLM-N). Along with the Sudanese Armed Forces,
Khartoum loyalists include militia elements belonging to the Arab
Misseriya tribe, which has long-standing tensions with the Nubans. Back
Estimates as of March 2012. OCHA [UN Office for the Co-ordination
of Humanitarian Affairs] South Sudan, Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin,
8 March 2012. Back
Ev 85 [DFID] Back
Ev 83, 98 [DFID] Back
HL Deb, 20 March 2012, cols 163-164WA Back
As of January 2012. Ev 85, Q 127 [DFID]. Back
International Rescue Committee, Northern Bahr el Ghazal Protection
Stakeholder Analysis Report, November 2011. Back
OCHA, Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin, 12 January 2012 Back
Led by the UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees). Back
"South Sudanese leave Khartoum by train", International
Organization for Migration press release, 2 March 2012 Back
Qq 127, 129 Back
"Sudan and South Sudan sign return deal, but April deadline
"massive logistical challenge", says IOM", International
Organization for Migration press release, 14 February 2012 Back
EV 77 [DFID] Back
OCHA, South Sudan: Humanitarian Snapshot (as of 27 January
2012), www.unocha.org/south-sudan/maps-graphics Back
"South Sudan cattle raid toll 'passes 200'", BBC
News Online, 13 March 2012, news.bbc.co.uk Back
Q 2 Back
Ev 84, 103-104 [DFID] Back
OCHA, South Sudan: Humanitarian Snapshot (as of 27 January
2012), www.unocha.org/south-sudan/maps-graphics Back
Q 77 Back
OCHA, Consolidated Appeal for South Sudan 2011, July 2011.
"South Sudan, World's Newest Country, Faces Hunger Crisis",
UN World Food Programme press release, 15 December 2011 Back
"UNHCR chief appeals for massive humanitarian support for
South Sudan", UNHCR press release, 10 January 2012 Back