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Communique of the 68th Session of the IGAD Council of Ministers on Sudan and South Sudan (19.06.2019)

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UNHCR Somalia stands in solidarity with millions forced to flee (20.06.2019)

Mogadishu, 20 June– On the occasion of World Refugee Day, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Somalia pays tribute to the millions of people forcibly displaced all over the world.

World Refugee Day is marked on 20 June each year to highlight the courage and resilience of millions of people forced to flee war, conflict and persecution. The day is also an opportunity to express gratitude to governments and host populations that offer asylum, support and protection to refugees.

The theme for 2019 is “inclusion; inclusion of refugees, IDPs and stateless people”. This year, UNHCR is also rallying people around the world to honour the resilience and determination of displaced people in a global movement dubbed, “Step With Refugees”. The campaign invites people to step in solidarity with refugees by either walking, running, dancing, swimming or cycling. Regional organizations are also taking note of the crisis. The African Union declared 2019 as the year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced People (IDPs).

Globally, the displacement crisis in recent years has been unprecedented. At least one person is forcibly uprooted from their homes around the world every two seconds. In total, 70.8 million have been forced to flee their homes globally – among them 25.9 million refugees.

“We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record; and host countries need to ensure the active inclusion of refugees and other displaced families in their countries’ development agenda. Refugees and others in similar situations bring with them great skills and can make meaningful contributions in their communities. Giving them equal opportunities to use their skills also promotes self-reliance and empowerment.” said Takeshi Moriyama, UNHCR Acting Representative.

Somalia is at the epicentre of the refugee and displacement crisis. The country remains one of the top five refugee producing countries in the world with most of its nationals seeking asylum in neighbouring Ethiopia, Kenya and Yemen. More than 2.6 people are also internally displaced mainly due to conflict, drought, floods and evictions. The majority of the internally displaced are located in Banadir, Bay, Sool, and Gedo and Bari regions.

Despite its own internal challenges, Somalia is generously hosting over 34,000 refugees and asylum seekers largely from Ethiopia and Yemen. They mainly live in Woqooyi Galbeed, Bari and Banadir regions. Somali nationals have also been returning home spontaneously from countries of asylum as well as through the UNHCR supported Voluntary Repatriation (Volrep) and the Assisted Spontaneous Return (ASR) Programs. UNHCR has received more than 126,000 returnees from 12 countries including Kenya, Yemen, Djibouti, Libya, Sudan, Eritrea, Tunisia, Angola, Gambia, Pakistan and Cambodia.

Somalia: The Foreign Correspondents’ Association of East Africa and Somali Journalists Syndicate condemn the recent harassment of journalists in Somalia (19.06.2019)

Drought in Somalia and Somaliland: Lives Teetering on the Edge (18.06.2019)

UNMISS repairs 2500kms of roads to encourage economic growth and peace in South Sudan (13.06.2019)

Engineers from Bangladesh, China, India, Thailand and South Korea have spent six months working intensively levelling and grading roads.

JUBA, South Sudan, June 13, 2019 –

Engineers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan have repaired more than 2500 kilometers of roads to support economic growth and rapprochement so the conflict-affected country can build a peaceful and more prosperous future.

“When South Sudan gained its independence, it inherited infrastructure that was in a dire state with only about 250 kilometers of sealed roads. War and weather have also taken a toll over the years, leaving many roads impassable in the rainy season,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS, David Shearer.

“The efforts of our engineers to rehabilitate major supply routes will make a big difference to people’s lives.” Engineers from Bangladesh, China, India, Thailand and South Korea have spent six months working intensively levelling and grading roads as well as repairing supporting infrastructure, such as culverts and bridges. They have focused on major routes from Juba to Bentiu (940km), Juba-Bor-Pibor (400km) and Malakal (200km).

“We know that when people are able to travel to meet with each other, it is easier to build trust and confidence. In many areas where roads have been improved, we have seen a decrease in violence between groups and an increase in reconciliation and peace-building activities.”

“Many families are also beginning to have the confidence to return to their homes as the security situation improves. Better roads will enable them to travel safely and more easily,” said David Shearer.

“Improved access will also encourage trade, create jobs and economic growth.” “Importantly, humanitarian agencies will be able to reach communities in need and save millions of dollars travelling by road rather than relying on transporting aid by air. UNMISS will also be able to supply its bases and deploy peacekeepers to locations around the country more efficiently and effectively.”

“I would like to thank the countries that have sent their engineers to serve the people of South Sudan. Their efforts are improving people’s lives as well as the prospects of South Sudan securing a peaceful and more prosperous future,” said David Shearer.

UNMISS welcomes ratification of International human rights convenants in South Sudan (07.06.2019)

UNHCR warns of growing climate-related displacement in Somalia (05.06.2019)

An estimated 5.4 million people are likely to be food insecure by September.

GENEVA, Switzerland, June 5, 2019 -This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Ahead of World Environment Day tomorrow, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is calling for urgent additional support to help people affected and displaced by drought in Somalia.

Below average rains during the “Gu” (April-June 2019) and “Deyr” (October – December 2018) rainy seasons have caused worsening drought in many parts of the country. An estimated 5.4 million people are likely to be food insecure by September.

Some 2.2 million of these will be in severe conditions needing immediate emergency assistance unless aid is urgently scaled up.

The drought has also forced more than 49,000 people to flee their homes since the beginning of the year as they search for food, water, aid and work mostly in urban areas. People who are already displaced because of conflict and violence are also affected by the drought, at times disproportionally.

More than 7,000 people were displaced last month alone.

Three main regions of Somalia – South Central, Puntland and Somaliland – have been affected, despite marginal to average rains and flash flooding in some regions. The worst affected areas include the Sanaag, Sool, Awdal, Bari, Nugaal, Mudug, Galgadud, Hiran regions of the country.

The latest drought comes just as the country was starting to recover from a drought in 2016 to 2017 that led to the displacement inside Somalia of over a million people. Many remain in a protracted state of displacement.

UNHCR and humanitarian partners fear that severe climatic conditions combined with armed conflict and protracted displacement could push the country into a far bigger humanitarian emergency. Decades of climatic shocks and conflict have left more than 2.6 million people internally displaced.

To avert a humanitarian crisis, aid agencies launched a Drought Response Plan on 20 May, appealing for US$710.5 million to provide life-saving assistance to 4.5 million people affected by the drought. To date this is 20 per cent funded.

UNHCR has been working with partners and government agencies to assist those affected and displaced by the drought by providing emergency assistance in some of the most affected areas.

Worldwide, weather-related hazards, including storms, cyclones, floods, droughts, wildfires and landslides displaced 16.1 million people last year alone.

With climate change amplifying the frequency and intensity of sudden disasters, such as hurricanes, floods and tornados, and contributing to more gradual environmental phenomena, such as drought and rising sea levels, it is expected to drive even more displacement in the future.

UNHCR is calling for more international action to prevent climate-related disasters, scale up efforts to strengthen resilience and to protect people affected by climate change using all available legal frameworks.

IMF: South Sudan is in a deep economic crisis!

The International Monetary Fund has today released their press release on the economic and financial crisis, which is there. The IMF is really stating the facts, the dire needs of the state and the need for reform. Transitional Government of National Unity (TGoNU) really has a lot of work to fix this. South Sudan needs peace to fix this and not more civil war. However, what the IMF is stating is really vital to fix the economy.

The Republic of South Sudan needs some serious revamp of the economy when the IMF state it like this. Clearly, the government has more than enough on its plate, but they surely has to focus to get this in order. That shows the pressure on the state to get it fixed.

Take a look!

South Sudan is in a deep economic crisis. Economic conditions have deteriorated rapidly since the beginning of the civil conflict in late 2013. Real GDP is estimated to have declined by 2.4 percent in 2017/18 adding to a cumulated decline of about 24 percent in the last three years. Overall, real disposable income (adjusted for terms of trade) is estimated to have declined by about 70 percent since independence in 2011, contributing to an increase in poverty headcount ratio from 50 percent in 2012 to about 82 percent in 2016” (…) “Fiscal policy has been weakened by the loss of fiscal discipline, deteriorating public financial management, and contracting of non-transparent oil advances, which have increased corruption vulnerabilities” (…) “The banking sector is yet to recover from the adverse effects of the civil conflict, high inflation and strong currency depreciation. Consequently, many domestic banks are heavily undercapitalized and face rising non-performing loans” (International Monetary Fund – ‘IMF Country Report No. 19/153 REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN 2019 ARTICLE IV CONSULTATION—PRESS RELEASE; STAFF REPORT; AND STATEMENT BY THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN’ 04.06.2019).

We are seeing now what is at stake for the government in Juba to fix and ensure that they get to stabilize the economy, as well as finalizing the peace-agreements. So, that the public get enough peace to get the banking sector working, the financial markets running and possibly stop the economic crisis. Which has only been made worse by high inflation, strong currency depreciation and grand corruption. All of this has to get in order and get corporate governance, and financial statutes to safeguard the economy.

This will not happen over night, but the IMF is really warning in their press release and in their staff report. I just showed the gist of it. But it wasn’t positive.

To end with a few final statements from the Executive Board Assessment: “Directors observed, however, that the country is facing a deep economic and humanitarian crisis, and underscored the importance of decisively implementing key reforms to restore macroeconomic stability, strengthen economic buffers, improve governance, and rebuild credibility with the international community” (IMF, 04.06.2019). Peace.

Somalia: Galmudug State Calls for Urgent Meeting of Presidents of the Federal Member States of Somalia (04.06.2019)

Community of Bur and herdsmen resolve to share pastures and water in dry seasons (31.05.2019)

The feuding communities resolved to share pastures and water points and buried their differences.

JUBA, South Sudan, May 31, 2019 –  We have agreed together to hold anyone that will cause conflict between us accountable, like thieves of goats and cattle,” said Oburak Alex, the landlord of Bur who oversees all traditional rituals and land ownership disputes in the area.

The Bur community in Eastern Equatoria has frequently voiced concerns over aggressive behaviours displayed by pastoralists from Torit East. Incidents of rape, elopement, adultery and destroying crops by letting cattle graze on farm lands, are among the transgressions that have upset the people of Bur.

With indications that violence may have been about to escalate, the Civil Affairs Division of the United Nations in South Sudan decided to support an inter-communal forum aimed at resolving conflicts and strengthen traditional mechanisms to address disputes.

At the end of the two-day get-together, the feuding communities resolved to share pastures and water points and buried their differences, but with a few caveats.

“We are ready to receive them again and give them land to graze for their cattle to graze, but they [the herdsmen] have to come with their wives,” said John Okori Obi, one of the youth representatives in Bur, stressing the importance of immediately implementing the resolution agreed on to put an end to adulterous behaviour.

It was also decided that ambulating pastoralists will communicate their intended movements and appoint someone to speak on their behalf should crimes be committed.

“What you have done is commendable, so we encourage you to implement the resolutions,” said Leah Chan, a representative of the UNMISS civil affairs division in Torit.

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