In 2005, the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement marked the end of over twenty years of civil war in Southern Sudan. An overwhelming 99.9% of Southerners later voted in the 2011 referendum to secede from the north and create The Republic of South Sudan. In December 2013 the newly created Republic of South Sudan once again fell into conflict which have had huge humanitarian consequences.
According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, it is estimated that 1,8 million people are Internally Displaced, and more than 600.000 people have sought refuge in neighboring countries. Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor mentioned that at beginning 2018 about 6 million people in South Soudan were living with the threat of Explosive Remnant of War (ERW). ERW is one of the most significant reasons that prevents Internally displaced people from returning home.
A peace deal signed in August 2015 has put a stop to most of the fighting, however Landmines, Explosive Remnants of War and the massive proliferation of small arms and light weapons among the population continue to cause injury and death.
Danish Demining Group (DDG) began working in Southern Sudan in 2006 in the area of Humanitarian Mine Action and in 2009, in the field of Armed Violence Reduction. Through these two areas of work – and in close coordination with the recovery work of Danish Refugee Council (DRC) – DDG strives to create safe environments where people can lead peaceful lives free of the threats of explosive remnants of war or armed violence. DDG and DRC work in partnership in Central Equatoria, Unity and Upper Nile states.
DDG supports refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and host communities through the delivery of Mine Risk Education and explosive ordnance disposal. DDG also ensures safe access for other humanitarian actors to areas where their aid is needed.
DDG’s Village-by-Village approach and community-driven ethos ensures that teams respond to the concerns and fears of community members related to contamination in their areas. DDG also coordinates its activities through the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and the South Sudan National Mine Action Authority (NMAA).
Clearance of Unexploded Ordnance is mainly carried out in the Unity and Upper Nile States, as this is an area with high level of contamination of Explosive Ordnance while being relatively stable in terms of safety. Whenever the need arise, DDG deploys emergency clearance teams throughout South Sudan and responds to explosive hazards identified by either UNMAS, Humanitarian Organizations or local communities and authorities. Thus, in 2018 DDG teams removed or destroyed 654 Unexploded Ordnances, reaching 3.636 estimated recipients.
In terms of Mine Risk Education, DDG’s focus is to educate the population in project areas learning about the risks of unexploded ordnance. Children are particularly vulnerable to the presence of these items in South Sudan. Mine risk education activities focus on identifying risky behavior among children and protecting them from explosive accidents. More than 33.400 people received Mine Risk Education through sessions organized across the country. Half of the beneficiaries were children aged less than 18 years old.
Armed Violence Reduction
As a consequence of many years of war, firearms are widely available and armed violence commonplace throughout South Sudan. DDG uses the OECD’s Armed Violence Lens to analyze the causes of armed violence and develop tailored interventions to address the root causes of conflicts. DDG South Sudan works with three primary activities, Community Safety, Conflict Management Education and Security Provider/Community Dialogue sessions.