Resilience in Displacement and the Protection of Civilians in South Sudan

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The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was established in 2011. As violence erupted in 2013, the peacekeeping mission allowed tens of thousands of civilians into its bases, leading to the establishment of Protection of Civilians (POC) sites that today shelter more than 200,000 people. The argument of this article is that the creation of the POC sites became constitutive of a broader set of controversies surrounding the building or otherwise of resilience among displaced civilians. The UNMISS is pushing to offer as few services as possible and is focusing on the delivery of traditional humanitarian assistance to encourage return. Conversely, the humanitarian community is pushing for the expansion of services beyond life-saving short-term interventions and towards building the capacity of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) to resist adverse shocks in the future. This article concludes that contestations over the politics of resilience have become a driver of tension and friction between the peacekeeping mission and the humanitarians.

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Jairo Munive

Senior Researcher Peace, Risk and Violence at Danish Institute for International Studies

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