Returns and Peace in South Sudan: Challenges, opportunities and the way forward

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As South Sudan moves towards forming a Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGONU) in February 2020, questions around the return and resettlement of over 4.15 million South Sudanese are rising up the political agenda. There is an urgent need to consider lessons from the previous return migration and resettlement processes, and controls on returnees’ movements, particularly from those around the CPA period (2002-2012).

This briefing note is part of this process, reflecting on the possibilities for today’s returns, resettlement and reconstruction of South Sudan based on lessons learned from previous efforts. This briefing argues that there are three key issues that donors and agencies need consider during their current planning and implementation: the sustained economic crisis, lack of immediate political or social necessity to return, and the deep societal fractures resulting from the intra-Southern civil war of 2013-18, which has brought into question the idea of a South Sudanese national community.

Nicki Kindersley

Dr Kindersley is the Harry F Guggenheim Research Fellow at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, and a consulting researcher with the Rift Valley Institute. She works on contemporary histories of migration, education, and mobilisation in South Sudan and its borderlands. She runs several projects with the Universities of Juba and Khartoum, and has recently published research on the rule of law in Juba, current security sector reforms in South Sudan, and on civilian targeting.

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