IOM is committed to promoting humane and orderly movement of people across borders through regulating migration and protecting migrants within the borders of a state. In South Sudan, IOM works closely with the government, humanitarian and development partners, and migrants to improve migration management. IOM offers policy guidance, supports institutional capacity building, and works to improve immigration and border management. In addition, IOM supports assisted voluntary return (AVR) and provides support to vulnerable migrants and migrants caught in crisis. IOM South Sudan receives technical guidance and support from IOM Headquarters in Geneva and Regional Office in Nairobi, as well as IOM’s African Capacity Building Center (ACBC) in Tanzania.
Immigration and Border Management
South Sudan inherited one of the weakest border and migration management regimes in Africa following its independence in 2011. From 2010–2014, IOM conducted an overall evaluation of the migration management regime of the country and carried out 16 border assessments, which indicated that South Sudan has suffered from a chronic lack of infrastructure, equipment, training, policies, processes and coordination. These challenges significantly affect the country’s capacity to promote humane and orderly migration and pose a threat to achieving regional security and development goals.
In light of these needs, IOM developed a strong partnership with the Government of South Sudan Ministry of Interior—in particular the Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Immigration (DNPI)—to improve immigration and border management practices and policies. IOM’s capacity building approach seeks to develop South Sudan’s immigration policy and operational capacity in line with international standards. Some of the achievements include:
- Constructing/rehabilitating 10 land border posts
- Constructing an Immigration Training Academy
- Training more than 1,000 law enforcement officers on migration management
- Installing a Border Management Information System at Juba International Airport and 10 land borders
- Developing the South Sudan Immigration Policies and Procedures Manual
- Developing an Immigration Training Manual for South Sudan
Since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2005, South Sudan has become a transit and destination country for migrants from East and Horn of Africa. Diverse economic opportunities in South Sudan and the demand for skilled and unskilled labour have been the main pull factors for migrants to embark on a journey to South Sudan. In the process, some have been trafficked or smuggled into South Sudan, leading to irregular status in the country and contributing to migrants’ vulnerability and exploitation. Most of these migrants largely contribute to the local economy and at the same time send some of their savings to their families at home.
When the crisis erupted on 15 December 2013, migrants were affected along with millions of South Sudanese who were displaced internally and across borders.
Since 2011, IOM has worked closely with the Government of South Sudan and UN and NGO partners to address irregular migration through capacity building and training and providing assistance to victims of trafficking and other vulnerable migrants, including those affected by the current crisis.