Protection and Human Rights

Providing protection to vulnerable and conflict-affected people

The ethnical nature of the conflict constitutes a major protection concern. Revenge attacks, targeted killings, sexual and gender-based violence, abductions, and forced child recruitment are widespread. Cattle raids and inter-tribal conflicts continue to threaten communities’ security and stability.

More than 3 million civilians are displaced from their homes, and about 224,000 are seeking protection in UNMISS Protection of Civilian’s sites (POCs) across the country. Since the onset of the conflict, insecurity, denial of access, illegal taxation and harassment or threats by SPLA and opposition groups has greatly hindered humanitarian activities in conflict affected areas.

In line with the South Sudan Cooperation Strategy 2017-2020, SDC’s main objective is to respond to the needs and aspirations of the most vulnerable in the following key areas: 1) ensuring that the protection needs of civilians are met, focusing on the immediate needs of the most vulnerable victims and displaced persons; and 2) to empower and capacitate communities and civil society to create a safer environment for themselves.

Gender-responsive interventions and the prevention as well as the response to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) are addressed as priority concerns. Gender equality, as well as women and girls’ participation are to be enhanced, particularly with regard to peace- and nation-building processes. The respect, protection and promotion of Human Rights are seen as transversal themes, guiding all programmes.

Enhanced protection of civilians affected by the conflict

SDC supports efforts that contribute to a well-coordinated protection response, which considers the specific rights and needs of the most vulnerable populations.

  • NP (Nonviolent Peaceforce) provides unarmed civilian protection that improves and strengthens the safety of communities in Mundri (Western Equatoria State) and the Sobat corridor (Upper Nile). NP supports communities in developing their own ways of preventing Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).
  • The IOM (International Organization for Migration) contributes to civilian’s safety and ensures better living conditions in the Bentiu and Malakal Protection of Civilian Sites (PoCs).
  • Through DRC (Danish Refugee Council) and the South Sudan NGO Forum, SDC contributes to improved and enhanced safety of humanitarian staff and IDPs. Both provide information, analysis and advice on security issues to actors on the ground in all locations.
  • Well aware of the sensitive environment in South Sudan, SDC supports research on conflict and evidence- based analysis that can enhance the effectiveness of the international community’s contribution to peace and security in South Sudan.

Unrestricted access to conflict areas

SDC supports several actors who relentlessly call upon the involved parties to grant the operational humanitarian organisations unrestricted access to the affected people:

  • SDC’s partners OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) and the South Sudan Protection Cluster coordinate the activities of actors on the ground, negotiate and advocate for unhindered humanitarian access to conflict areas, where aid is most needed.
  • UNHAS and the ICRC enable humanitarian access to remote and hard to reach locations.