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Fragile & Conflict Affected States: The Stateless Person

South Sudan


Over 2 billion people live in countries where development outcomes are affected by fragility, conflict and high levels of violence. South Sudan, having entered its seventh year of continued conflict since its independence in 2011, is characterized as one such country.

In South Sudan, widespread displacement resulting from ongoing internal armed conflict has created a growing number of populations characterized by statelessness, defined as a person who maintains no nationality under law. Having the proper nationality documentation is not only a determining factor in one’s real identity but also a significant indicator of perceived identity and understanding of the self in our ever shifting world. In a practical sense, ID documents are key to increasing ones livelihood opportunities and economic stability through the ability to open a bank account, register a business, enroll in school, attend national examinations and participate in elections. As one South Sudanese person stated;

"Having ID documents grants one’s rights, freedom, and protection from the government."

All of these can increase a person’s resilience to continued shocks experienced within a country and give a person the self-determination needed to affect their future.

Forcier & UNHCR: Exploration of Statelessness in South Sudan

In fragile states and conflict zones, implementing emergency response projects and development activities is a tricky endeavor. Original contexts that a project is designed to be implemented in can shift unpredictably, and rarely is there up to date information surrounding specific populations. This is where Forcier’s research capabilities and an adoption of adaptive programming can provide essential data through the systematized use of monitoring and evaluation systems during program implementation. With up to date data comes the ability to reflect on the implementation process and respond to findings while programming is ongoing.

UNHCR has been working in South Sudan raising community-level awareness on the importance of obtaining a nationality certificate, and supporting access for vulnerable internally displaced persons through the procedure of acquiring a nationality certificate. As a monitoring and evaluation partner to UNHCR, Forcier provided comprehensive data and mapping of stateless populations in South Sudan. Forcier collected data in collaboration with a local South Sudanese legal firm, conducted extensive interviews with both high level officials and community members struggling to receive documentation, and carried out detailed analysis of collected data, current context, and the South Sudanese legal systems. This allowed UNHCR an on the ground picture of the populations in need of IDs and an overall better understanding of the legal ramifications, demographic data, and location of communities threatened by statelessness. It is through monitoring and evaluation systems that Forcier ensures our partners can improve programming and increase the chances of real change being enacted from originally designed programming.

Read the final report here and learn more about the work UNHCR and Forcier are doing in South Sudan to support vulnerable populations gain nationality certificates.


Forcier Consulting Group

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