Sanctuary in the city? Urban displacement and vulnerability in Yei, South Sudan

Working and discussion papers
December 2011
Ellen Martin and Nina Sluga

While a number of studies in recent years have sought to analyse urban livelihoods and governance, little is known about how displaced people negotiate their way in the urban environment, their relationships with host communities and governance institutions and their specific vulnerabilities as compared with other urban poor. Likewise, the role of humanitarian and development actors in supporting these populations, and the strategies and approaches best suited to address the assistance and protection needs of urban IDPs, are poorly understood.

This study explores the phenomenon of displacement in the urban environment and the implications and challenges it poses for humanitarian action in Yei, South Sudan.

This study is part of a series of studies on urban displacement, which so far has included case studies on Nairobi, Damascus, Amman, and Kabul.
The study aims to:

  • Deepen understanding of the drivers and history of displacement in Yei.
  • Review policies and legal frameworks for displaced populations and other urban poor, including protection, housing, land and urban development policies.
  • Discuss the specific protection threats affecting displaced populations in Yei and how they compare with the threats facing other groups of urban poor.
  • Assess the specific vulnerabilities of displaced people in the town, particularly in relation to access to basic services, urban infrastructure and livelihood opportunities, and how they compare with the vulnerabilities of other groups of urban poor.
  • Identify how international aid actors can best engage with the urban poor and displaced populations living in Yei.