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2014 UNHCR country operations profile - Sudan

| Overview |

Working environment

  • Sudan's economy has been affected by falling oil revenues, resulting in rising inflation and the devaluation of the currency.

  • In the Darfur region, as well as in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile States, Government restrictions on humanitarian access, combined with continued insecurity, hamper UNHCR's activities. In Darfur in particular, delays in the issuance of travel permits for staff negatively affect the implementation of UNHCR's programme.

  • The security situation in Darfur has also further deteriorated with ongoing and renewed inter-tribal hostilities. Some 300,000 people were newly displaced in the first six months of 2013.

  • In the east, trafficking and abduction of asylum-seekers and refugees, as well as the continuous arrival of unaccompanied children, remain major protection concerns, although significant progress in combatting this phenomenon has been achieved in 2013.

  • Between 300,000 and 350,000 South Sudanese live in Sudan and are at risk of statelessness. The "Four Freedoms" agreement signed between Sudan and South Sudan in September 2012, which allows citizens of both States to enjoy freedom of residence, movement, economic activity and property ownership, has yet to be fully implemented.

  • Sudan has a longstanding tradition of hospitality towards refugees. The Government has made available land for some 90,000 refugees who live in camps. Moreover, the authorities are committed to finding durable solutions to the plight of refugees, an example of which is a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in March 2013 by UNHCR and the authorities for the hand-over of the infrastructure and facilities of the three Suki camps after their closure.

People of concern

The main groups of people of concern to UNHCR in Sudan are: refugees from Eritrea and Ethiopia, who have sought asylum for the last 40 years due to human rights abuse or forced conscription in their countries of origin; Sudanese internally displaced people (IDPs) who moved inside Sudan to escape fighting in Darfur and in the Protocol Areas; and South Sudanese individuals who are at risk of statelessness (see footnote to table below).

Planning figures

UNHCR 2014 planning figures for Sudan
TYPE OF POPULATION ORIGIN Dec 2013 Dec 2014 Dec 2015
Total in country of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total in country of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total in country of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total 2,189,000 1,352,950 2,125,810 1,356,360 2,180,750 1,359,900
Note: An estimated 350,000 people of South Sudanese origin live in Sudan. Existing information indicates that the great majority of these individuals are likely to be able to acquire documentation confirming that they are South Sudanese nationals.
Refugees Chad 8,720 8,650 9,070 8,970 9,420 9,290
Eritrea 118,280 82,940 124,280 84,740 130,280 86,540
Ethiopia 5,100 2,890 5,440 4,090 5,780 5,280
Various 1,080 700 1,350 990 1,620 1,280
People in refugee-like situations Chad 23,850 4,800 23,850 4,800 23,850 4,800
Various 2,130 - 2,130 - 2,130 -
Asylum-seekers Dem. Rep. of the Congo 890 890 960 960 1,040 1,040
Eritrea 2,010 410 1,430 590 850 770
Ethiopia 5,380 1,500 3,900 1,080 2,400 780
Various 180 50 20 20 - -
Returnee arrivals during year (ex-refugees) Sudan 40,000 - 40,000 - 50,000 -
Internally displaced Sudan 1,800,000 1,250,000 1,800,000 1,250,000 1,800,000 1,250,000
People in IDP-like situations Sudan 78,000 - - - - -
Returnee arrivals during year (ex-IDPs) Sudan 100,000 - 110,000 - 150,000 -
Others of concern Ethiopia 3,380 120 3,380 120 3,380 120

| Response |

Needs and strategies

In 2014, UNHCR will continue engaging closely with local authorities and central Government entities to maximize the protection response for affected populations; prevent refoulement; ensure a smooth transition of services within the framework of the Transitional Solutions Initiative (TSI); and thus strengthen the capacity of line ministries. In this context, UNHCR will also expand its joint programme with UNDP and further develop cooperation with the World Bank in the east of the country. The Office will continue to promote self-reliance activities for Eritrean refugees living in a protracted situation through livelihoods, education, health, shelter and protection activities. New arrivals will receive shelter and basic services.

Priority will be given to the implementation of the joint UNHCR-IOM Strategy to address human trafficking, kidnappings and smuggling of persons, in close collaboration with the Sudanese Government, since many Eritrean asylum-seekers and refugees have been targeted. In addition, the strategic use of resettlement will remain an important protection tool.

The protection strategy in Sudan will also prioritize the strengthening of access to legal assistance and remedies, and better protection for children and women, for both refugee and IDP populations. UNHCR will provide legal advice and technical support to the Sudanese authorities, while advocating for the establishment of legal procedures to allow individuals to confirm their citizenship status. The prevention of refoulement will also remain a central objective in 2014 and the Office will provide support to its Government partners to improve the documentation of the refugee community, including in Khartoum.

In Darfur, the shift of the IDP programme towards durable solutions will continue and UNHCR will further focus on promoting the return and reintegration of IDPs, while providing basic services and protection.

UNHCR will also continue to assume responsibility for the emergency shelter and non-food items sector throughout Sudan.

| Implementation |

Coordination

UNHCR will continue to engage with local authorities and central Government entities, in particular with: the Ministries of the Interior, Foreign Affairs and Justice and the Commissioner for Refugees (COR) for all refugee matters; the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) for internal displacement; and the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA).

The Office will remain an active participant in the UN Country Team and Humanitarian Country Team, taking leadership roles in protection, emergency shelter and non-food items, and return and reintegration activities.

UNHCR will also maintain close partnerships with its traditional humanitarian partners, such as IOM, OCHA, UNICEF and WFP, and expand its engagement with UNDP and, potentially, the World Bank. The Sudan Humanitarian Work Plan (HWP) continues to be the principal inter-agency programming and resource mobilization tool in Sudan.

2014 UNHCR partners in Sudan
Implementing partners
Government agencies: Civil Registry, Commission for Voluntary Humanitarian Works, Ministry of Interior, Commissioner for Refugees, Local Government of Gedaref State, Ministry of Finance, Economy and Labour Forces (Kassala), Ministry of Health (Gedaref), Ministry of Social Affairs, Department of Social Welfare (Nyala), Ministry of Social Development, Women and Child Affairs (South Kordofan), Ministry of Social Welfare for Child Protection (Kassala), Ministry of Social Welfare for Child Protection (Singa), Refugee Counselling Services
NGOs: Africa Humanitarian Action, Al Sharq Centre for Culture and Legal Aid, Alsalam Organization for Rehabilitation and Development, Child Development Foundation, Cooperazione Internazionale, Danish Refugee Council, El Sugya Charity Organization, Fondation Terre des Hommes, Global Health Foundation, Help Age International, Human Appeal International, Kassala Social Development Foundation, National Forestry Corporation, National Organization for Care and Development, Nuba Mountains International Association for Development, People's Legal Aid Centre, Rural Community Development Organization, Save the Children - Sweden, Sudan Open Learning Organization, Sudanese Organization for Education Development, Sudanese Red Crescent Society, Triangle Génération Humanitaire, Trust Rehabilitation and Development Organization, War Child - Canada, World Vision - Germany
Others: IOM, UN-Habitat, UNOPS
Operational partners
Government agencies: Darfur Regional Authority, Humanitarian Aid Commission, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice
Others: AU, FAO, ICRC, OCHA, UN Mine Action Services, UNAMID, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNIDO, UNV, WFP, WHO, World Bank

| Financial information |

From 2010 to 2011, the financial requirements for UNHCR's operation in Sudan increased due to the massive displacement of people within the country. Since South Sudan's independence in 2011, there has been a significant drop in the operation's budget, mainly due to the separation of the South Sudan budget in 2012 as well as limited access to the Protocol Areas and the Office's involvement in activities related to internal displacement in that region. The 2014 financial requirements for the operation are set at USD 97.4 million, a decrease of USD 19.3 million compared to the revised 2013 budget of USD 116.7 million, mostly due to restriction of access. Within the 2014 budget, USD 65.1 million is allocated to the refugee programme, USD 29 million for the protection and assistance of IDPs and USD 3.4 million for the prevention of statelessness.

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2014-2105


UNHCR contact information

The UNHCR Representation in Sudan
Style of Address The UNHCR Representation in Sudan
Street Address Ahmed Kheir Street (North of Farouk Cemetery)
Mailing Address Khartoum 2 P.O. BOX 2560
Telephone +249183471013
Facsimile +249183473101
Email SUDKH@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 3:00
Working Hours
Monday:AM 8:30 - PM 16:15
Tuesday:AM 8:30 - PM 16:15
Wednesday:AM 8:30 - PM 16:15
Thursday:AM 8:30 - PM 16:00
Friday:
Saturday:
Sunday:AM 8:30 - PM 16:15
Public Holidays Wednesday 1 Jan 2014 New Year | Observed on: Wednesday 1 Jan 2014
Wednesday 1 Jan 2014 Independence Day | Observed on: Wednesday 2 Jan 2014
Sunday 20 April 2014 Easter Sunday | Observed on: Sunday 20 April 2014
Monday 28 July 2014 Eid Al Fitr | Observed on: Monday 28 July & Tuesday 29 July 2014
Saturday 4 Oct 2014 Eid Al-Adha | Observed on: Sunday 5 October & Monday 6 October 2014
Friday 24 October 2014 UN Day | Observed on: Thursday 23 October 2014
Saturday 25 October 2014 Hijri Year | Observed on: Sunday 26 October 2014
Thursday 25 Dec 2014 Christmas Day | Observed on: Sunday 25 Dec 2014

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UNHCR contact information

Statistical Snapshot*
* As at January 2014
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure.
  4. Refugees who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013. Source: Country of origin and asylum.
  5. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
  6. IDPs protected/assisted by UNHCR who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013.
  7. Refers to persons under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
  8. Persons of concern to UNHCR not included in the previous columns but to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.
  9. The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Residing in Sudan [1]
Refugees [2] 159,857
Asylum Seekers [3] 10,808
Returned Refugees [4] 16,954
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5]
More info 1,873,300
IDP figure in Sudan includes 77,300 people who are in an IDP-like situation.
Returned IDPs [6] 19,471
Stateless Persons [7] 0
Various [8] 3,259
Total Population of Concern 2,083,649
Originating from Sudan [1]
Refugees [2]
More info 649,331
Refugee figure may include citizens of South Sudan (in absence of separate statistics for both countries).
Asylum Seekers [3]
More info 28,705
Figure for asylum-seekers may include citizens of South Sudan (in absence of separate statistics for both countries).
Returned Refugees [4] 16,954
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5]
More info 1,873,300
IDP figure in Sudan includes 77,300 people who are in an IDP-like situation.
Returned IDPs [6] 19,471
Various [8] 1
Total Population of Concern 2,587,762

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Crisis in the Central African Republic

Little has been reported about the humanitarian crisis in the northern part of the Central African Republic (CAR), where at least 295,000 people have been forced out of their homes since mid-2005. An estimated 197,000 are internally displaced, while 98,000 have fled to Chad, Cameroon or Sudan. They are the victims of fighting between rebel groups and government forces.

Many of the internally displaced live in the bush close to their villages. They build shelters from hay, grow vegetables and even start bush schools for their children. But access to clean water and health care remains a huge problem. Many children suffer from diarrhoea and malaria but their parents are too scared to take them to hospitals or clinics for treatment.

Cattle herders in northern CAR are menaced by the zaraguina, bandits who kidnap children for ransom. The villagers must sell off their livestock to pay.

Posted on 21 February 2008

Crisis in the Central African Republic

Battling the Elements in Chad

More than 180,000 Sudanese refugees have fled violence in Sudan's Darfur region, crossing the border to the remote desert of eastern Chad.

It is one of the most inhospitable environments UNHCR has ever had to work in. Vast distances, extremely poor road conditions, scorching daytime temperatures, sandstorms, the scarcity of vegetation and firewood, and severe shortages of drinkable water have been major challenges since the beginning of the operation. Now, heavy seasonal rains are falling, cutting off the few usable roads, flooding areas where refugees had set up makeshift shelters, and delaying the delivery of relief supplies.

Despite the enormous environmental challenges, UNHCR has so far managed to establish nine camps and relocate the vast majority of the refugees who are willing to move from the volatile border.

Battling the Elements in Chad

Southerners on the move before Sudanese vote

Ahead of South Sudan's landmark January 9, 2011 referendum on independence, tens of thousands of southern Sudanese in the North packed their belongings and made the long trek south. UNHCR set up way stations at key points along the route to provide food and shelter to the travellers during their arduous journey. Several reports of rapes and attacks on travellers reinforced the need for these reception centres, where women, children and people living with disabilities can spend the night. UNHCR has made contingency plans in the event of mass displacement after the vote, including the stockpiling of shelter and basic provisions for up to 50,000 people.

Southerners on the move before Sudanese vote

Chad: Relocation from the Border to Refugee Camps

Since fighting broke out in Sudan's western region of Darfur last year, more than 110,000 Sudanese refugees have fled into Chad. They are scattered along a 600-km stretch of desert borderland under a scorching sun during the day and freezing temperatures during the night.

Access to these refugees in this inhospitable region is difficult. Staff of the UN refugee agency drive for days to locate them. Bombing in the border zone and cross-border raids by militia from Sudan put the refugees at risk and underscore the urgent need to move them to camps in the interior. In addition, the approach of the rainy season in May will make the sandy roads impassable. Aid workers are racing against time in an attempt bring emergency relief to these refugees.

Chad: Relocation from the Border to Refugee Camps

Destruction and Displacement in Darfur, Sudan

An estimated one million people have been displaced within Sudan's western region of Darfur by fighting that erupted in early 2003. Militia have reportedly killed and raped villagers and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes in Darfur.

Many of the displaced people are living in squalid, makeshift encampments, where they continue to fear attacks by marauding militia.

UNHCR became operational in Darfur in June 2004 following a request from the UN country team for the refugee agency to share its expertise in protection, camp management and site planning. UNHCR has opened offices in Nyala and El Geneina and plans to establish a presence in El Fasher. UNHCR teams have begun evaluating existing camps for displaced persons to improve the layout and design and have begun training governmental camp managers in protection and the rights of displaced people.

Destruction and Displacement in Darfur, Sudan

Portraits of Darfur's Refugees

Nearly 200,000 refugees, the majority of them women and children, have fled across the border from Sudan into Chad since the outbreak of conflict in Sudan's Darfur region in March 2003. The refugees have left behind their homes and often loved ones in Darfur, where militias have reportedly killed and raped villagers, looted and burned houses and possessions and driven people from their homes.

Most of the refugees in eastern Chad are sheltered in 11 camps established by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, where they receive humanitarian aid, shelter, water and basic services.

Life in the camps is not easy in the desert environment of eastern Chad, where water and firewood are extremely scarce. Sandstorms are a regular feature during the dry months and torrential rains flood the landscape in the wet season.

Yet in the faces of the refugees, dignity and hope remain in spite of the hardships and the violence they have suffered.

Portraits of Darfur's Refugees

Camp Life in Eastern Chad

Faced with nearly 200,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur fleeing into the barren desert of eastern Chad, the UN refugee agency has essentially had to build small villages – including shelter, latrines, water supply and basic services – to accommodate the refugees and help them survive in a hostile natural environment with scarce local resources. The 11 camps set up so far shelter more than 166,000 refugees from Darfur.

While much work still needs to be done, especially to find sufficient water in the arid region, life in the camps has reached a certain level of normalcy, with schools and activities starting up and humanitarian aid regularly distributed to the residents. Meanwhile, UNHCR continues to improve services and living conditions in the existing camps and is working to set up new camps to take in more refugees from the ongoing violence in Darfur.

Camp Life in Eastern Chad

Uganda: Sudanese Refugees Flee Rebel Attacks

On August 5, 2002, some 24,000 Sudanese refugees fled their homes in Achol-Pii camp in northern Uganda after a bloody attack by the Lord's Liberation Army rebel group. More than 60 refugees and many local villagers were killed in the attack.

Fearing further violence, displaced refugees trekked overnight to Lira, from where UNHCR trucked them to Kiryondongo, 100 km to the south-west. Kiryondongo site, a settlement already hosting 13,000 refugees, was temporarily extended to accommodate the Achol-Pii survivors until another site could be prepared.

Arriving families were initially accommodated at an expanded reception centre at Kiryondongo. After being registered, the new arrivals received UNHCR plastic sheeting, an emergency food ration and a 20 x 15-metre plot per family to build their own temporary shelter. UNHCR also distributed blankets and jerry cans. Additional latrines were also dug, new water pumps installed and a new emergency clinic was set up.

Uganda: Sudanese Refugees Flee Rebel Attacks

Chad: Education in Exile

UNHCR joins forces with the Ministry of Education and NGO partners to improve education for Sudanese refugees in Chad.

The ongoing violence in Sudan's western Darfur region has uprooted two million Sudanese inside the country and driven some 230,000 more over the border into 12 refugee camps in eastern Chad.

Although enrolment in the camp schools in Chad is high, attendance is inconsistent. A shortage of qualified teachers and lack of school supplies and furniture make it difficult to keep schools running. In addition, many children are overwhelmed by household chores, while others leave school to work for local Chadian families. Girls' attendance is less regular, especially after marriage, which usually occurs by the age of 12 or 13. For boys and young men, attending school decreases the possibility of recruitment by various armed groups operating in the area.

UNHCR and its partners continue to provide training and salaries for teachers in all 12 refugee camps, ensuring a quality education for refugee children. NGO partners maintain schools and supply uniforms to needy students. And UNICEF is providing books, note pads and stationary. In August 2007 UNHCR, UNICEF and Chad's Ministry of Education joined forces to access and improve the state of education for Sudanese uprooted by conflict in Darfur.

UNHCR's ninemillion campaign aims to provide a healthy and safe learning environment for nine million refugee children by 2010.

Chad: Education in Exile

Chad Mission Photo Gallery

Chad Mission Photo Gallery

Bonga Camp, Ethiopia

Bonga camp is located in the troubled Gambella region of western Ethiopia. But it remains untouched by the ethnic conflicts that have torn nearby Gambella town and Fugnido camp in the last year.

For Bonga's 17,000 Sudanese refugees, life goes on despite rumblings in the region. Refugee children continue with school and play while their parents make ends meet by supplementing UNHCR assistance with self-reliance projects.

Cultural life is not forgotten, with tribal ceremonies by the Uduk majority. Other ethnic communities – Shuluks, Nubas and Equatorians – are welcome too, judging by how well hundreds of newcomers have settled in after their transfer from Fugnido camp in late 2002.

Bonga Camp, Ethiopia

South Sudan: Preparing for Long-Awaited Returns

The signing of a peace agreement between the Sudanese government and the army of the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement on 9 January, 2005, ended 21 years of civil war and signaled a new era for southern Sudan. For some 4.5 million uprooted Sudanese – 500,000 refugees and 4 million internally displaced people – it means a chance to finally return home.

In preparation, UNHCR and partner agencies have undertaken, in various areas of South Sudan, the enormous task of starting to build some basic infrastructure and services which either were destroyed during the war or simply had never existed. Alongside other UN agencies and NGOs, UNHCR is also putting into place a wide range of programmes to help returnees re-establish their lives.

These programs include road construction, the building of schools and health facilities, as well as developing small income generation programmes to promote self-reliance.

South Sudan: Preparing for Long-Awaited Returns

South Sudan: The Long Trip Home

When the peace treaty that ended 21 years of civil war between north and south Sudan was signed in 2005, some 223,000 Sudanese refugees were living in Uganda – the largest group of Sudanese displaced to a neighbouring country.

Despite South Sudan's lack of basic infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals and roads, many Sudanese were eager to go home. In May 2006, the UN refugee agency's Uganda office launched an assisted repatriation programme for Sudanese refugees. The returnees were given a repatriation package, including blankets, sleeping mats, plastic sheets, mosquito nets, water buckets, kitchen sets, jerry cans, soap, seeds and tools, before being transported from the transit centres to their home villages. As of mid-2008, some 60,000 Sudanese living in Uganda had been helped back home.

As of the beginning of May 2008, some 275,000 Sudanese refugees had returned to South Sudan from surrounding countries, including Uganda, Ethiopia, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya. Some 125,000 returned with UNHCR assistance.

Posted on 16 July 2008

South Sudan: The Long Trip Home

The Nubians in Kenya

In the late 1880s, Nubians from Sudan were conscripted into the British army. The authorities induced them to stay in Kenya by granting them homesteads and issuing them British colonial passports. The Nubians named their settlement near Nairobi, Kibra, or "land of forest." In 1917, the British government formally declared the land a permanent settlement of the Nubians. Since independence, Kenyan Nubians have had difficulty getting access to ID cards, employment and higher education and have been limited in their travel. In recent years, a more flexible approach by the authorities has helped ease some of these restric¬tions and most adult Nubians have been confirmed as Kenyan citizens, but children still face problems in acquiring Kenyan citizenship.

The Nubians in Kenya

Health crisis in South Sudan

There are roughly 105,000 refugees in South Sudan's Maban County. Many are at serious health risk. UNHCR and its partners are working vigorously to prevent and contain the outbreak of malaria and several water-borne diseases.

Most of the refugees, especially children and the elderly, arrived at the camps in a weakened condition. The on-going rains tend to make things worse, as puddles become incubation areas for malaria-bearing mosquitoes. Moderately malnourished children and elderly can easily become severely malnourished if they catch so much as a cold.

The problems are hardest felt in Maban County's Yusuf Batil camp, where as many as 15 per cent of the children under 5 are severely malnourished.

UNHCR and its partners are doing everything possible to prevent and combat illness. In Yusuf Batil camp, 200 community health workers go from home to home looking educating refugees about basic hygene such as hand washing and identifying ill people as they go. Such nutritional foods as Plumpy'nut are being supplied to children who need them. A hospital dedicated to the treatment of cholera has been established. Mosquito nets have been distributed throughout the camps in order to prevent malaria.

Health crisis in South Sudan

A Family On the Move in South Sudan

When fighting erupted in Kormaganza, Blue Nile state, in September last year, 80-year-old Dawa Musa's family decided to flee to the neighbouring village of Mafot. Dawa was too frail to make the two-day journey by foot, so her son, Awad Kutuk Tungud, hid her in the bush for three days while he moved his wife, Alahia, and nine children to safety. Awad returned for his mother and carried her to Mafot, where the family remained in relative safety for several months - until artillery began shelling the village.

Awad again fled with his family - this time across the border to South Sudan. For 15 gruelling days, he carried both his elderly mother and his daughter Zainab on his back, until they reached the border crossing at Al Fudj in February. UNHCR transported the family to Jamam refugee camp in South Sudan's Upper Nile state. They lived in safety for seven months until heavy rains caused flooding, making it difficult for UNHCR to bring clean water to the camp and bringing the threat of highly contagious waterborne diseases.

UNHCR set up a new camp in Gendrassa, located 55 kilometres from Jamam and on higher ground, and began the relocation of 56,000 people to the new camp. Among them were Awad and his family. Awad carried his mother once again, but this time it was to their new tent in Gendrassa camp. Awad has plans to begin farming. "Come back in three months," he said, "and there will be maize growing."

A Family On the Move in South Sudan

The Most Important Thing: Syrian Refugees

What would you bring with you if you had to flee your home and escape to another country? More than 1 million Syrians have been forced to ponder this question before making the dangerous flight to neighbouring Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq or other countries in the region.

This is the second part of a project by photographer Brian Sokol that asks refugees from different parts of the world, "What is the most important thing you brought from home?" The first instalment focused on refugees fleeing from Sudan to South Sudan, who openly carried pots, water containers and other objects to sustain them along the road.

By contrast, people seeking sanctuary from the conflict in Syria must typically conceal their intentions by appearing as though they are out for a family stroll or a Sunday drive as they make their way towards a border. Thus they carry little more than keys, pieces of paper, phones and bracelets - things that can be worn or concealed in pockets. Some Syrians bring a symbol of their religious faith, others clutch a reminder of home or of happier times.

The Most Important Thing: Syrian Refugees

International Women's Day 2013

Gender equality remains a distant goal for many women and girls around the world, particularly those who are forcibly displaced or stateless. Multiple forms of discrimination hamper their enjoyment of basic rights: sexual and gender-based violence persists in brutal forms, girls and women struggle to access education and livelihoods opportunities, and women's voices are often powerless to influence decisions that affect their lives. Displaced women often end up alone, or as single parents, battling to make ends meet. Girls who become separated or lose their families during conflict are especially vulnerable to abuse.

On International Women's Day, UNHCR reaffirms its commitment to fight for women's empowerment and gender equality. In all regions of the world we are working to support refugee women's participation and leadership in camp committees and community structures, so they can assume greater control over their lives. We have also intensified our efforts to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence, with a focus on emergencies, including by improving access to justice for survivors. Significantly, we are increasingly working with men and boys, in addition to women and girls, to bring an end to dangerous cycles of violence and promote gender equality.

These photographs pay tribute to forcibly displaced women and girls around the world. They include images of women and girls from some of today's major displacement crises, including Syria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and Sudan.

International Women's Day 2013

South Sudan: Helping the Most VulnerablePlay video

South Sudan: Helping the Most Vulnerable

UNHCR comes to the assistance of older, disabled and sickly Sudanese refugees arriving in Yusuf Batil Camp.
Sudan: A Perilous RoutePlay video

Sudan: A Perilous Route

Kassala camp in eastern Sudan provides shelter to thousands of refugees from Eritrea. Many of them pass through the hands of ruthless and dangerous smugglers.
Sudan: Heading for a New HomePlay video

Sudan: Heading for a New Home

UNHCR is offering to help move hundreds of people from Sudan to newly independent South Sudan, where they will build new lives. Almost 250 families with ties to the south are waiting for a ride.
South Sudan: Blue Nile RefugeesPlay video

South Sudan: Blue Nile Refugees

Refugees are streaming in from Sudan's Blue Nile Region into South Sudan, many to Doro Camp.
Kenya: In Need of ProtectionPlay video

Kenya: In Need of Protection

The legacy of Sudan's civil war haunts many refugees. In Kakuma camp some need special protection to ensure their safety.
Sudanese Vote in Kenyan ExilePlay video

Sudanese Vote in Kenyan Exile

Refugees in Kenya may have missed election day in South Sudan. But that did not stop them voting.
Sudan: Going HomePlay video

Sudan: Going Home

Thousands of southern Sudanese leave the North to return to their villages.
South Sudan: Voting for the FuturePlay video

South Sudan: Voting for the Future

Voting is under way in South Sudan. The millions who returned to their villages, after decades of war, hope this election could bring positive change and permanent peace.
Refugee Women: A Step ForwardPlay video

Refugee Women: A Step Forward

This year International women's day focuses on the economic, social and political achievements of women.Yet each day millions of women around the world struggle to make ends meet. Nowhere is situation more acute than in those countries recovering from conflict. Here's the story of how one group of women is striving for their own economic independence in the hope that one day it will help them return to south Sudan.
Refugee Women: A Step ForwardPlay video

Refugee Women: A Step Forward

In countries recovering from conflict, women struggle to make ends meet. Here's the story of how one group of women is striving for economic independence in the hope that it will help them return to South Sudan.
Play video

"Experience Darfur"

Londoners are given the chance to see the world through the eyes of refugees. CNN's Sasha Herriman reports.
New Violence In DarfurPlay video

New Violence In Darfur

Recent violence in Darfur has forced tens of thousands of people from their homes and made the delivery of aid almost impossible. A joint UN humanitarian mission recently visited Sirba, one of the towns that came under attack.
Learning Is Their FuturePlay video

Learning Is Their Future

Almost a quarter-of-a-million Sudanese have fled violence in the Darfur region and found refuge across the border in eastern Chad. Schools in the UNHCR-run refugee camps provide an education for more than 50,000 children. Conditions are basic and equipment scarce, but the children feel education is their only hope for a brighter future.
Play video

"Experience Darfur" in Trafalgar Square

On June 17, an exhibit dubbed "Experience Darfur," opened on Trafalgar Square, in London. The square was turned into a mock refugee camp for a day to highlight the plight of hundreds of thousands of people displaced by conflict in Sudan's Darfur region.