South Sudan

Casualties and Victim Assistance

Last updated: 04 January 2017

Summary action points based on findings

  • Expand programs in line with significant unmet needs.
  • Improve economic inclusion opportunities for mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) survivors and other persons with disabilities, which have remained low since 2012.
  • Adopt and implement the proposed national disability policy.

Victim assistance commitments

The Republic of South Sudan is responsible for a significant number of landmine survivors, cluster munition victims, and survivors of other ERW who are in need. South Sudan has made commitments to provide victim assistance through the Mine Ban Treaty.

Casualties Overview

All known casualties by end 2015

At least 4,899 mine/ERW casualties (1,355 killed; 3,544 injured) since 1964

Casualties in 2015

75 (2014: 38)

2015 casualties by outcome

17 killed; 58 injured (2014: 7 killed; 31 injured)

2015 casualties by device type

2 antipersonnel mines; 7 antivehicle mines; 2 cluster munitions; 39 ERW; 25 unknown


In 2015, the Monitor identified 75 mine/ERW casualties in South Sudan.[1] The civilian status of the casualties is unknown. Of the persons killed, eight were boys, one was a girl, and eight were adult men. Of those injured, 30 were boys, six were girls, 19 were men, and two were women.

The 75 casualties identified in 2015were nearly double the number identified in 2014 (38).[2] South Sudan attributed the increase in casualties from 2014 to population movements.[3]

A total of 4,899 mine/ERW casualties (1,355 killed; 3,544 injured) were reported in South Sudan from 1964 through the end of December 2015.[4] Casualties continued to be reported in 2016. Between January and February 2016, an additional 25 new casualties were reported, including seven people killed.[5]

Cluster munition casualties

As of December 2015, 90 casualties from cluster munitions were reported in South Sudan. Of the total, 72 casualties were caused by unexploded submunitions. In 2015, two casualties were reported by the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS).[6]

Victim Assistance

As of the end of 2015, 3,544 mine/ERW survivors were identified in South Sudan.[7] In 2011, the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare (MGCSW) estimated that there was a total of some 50,000 mine/ERW victims in South Sudan, including survivors, their families, and the immediate family members of people killed.[8] 

Victim assistance during the Cartagena Action Plan 2010–2014 and Vientiane Action Plan 2011–2015 

As a result of decades of conflict, survivors in South Sudan have lacked basic services of all kinds. The limited services available have been almost entirely provided by international organizations. Emergency medical care has been inadequate to address the needs of mine/ERW survivors and others wounded as a result of the armed conflict, a situation worsened by the high number of casualties caused by the outbreak of violence at the end of 2013. Ongoing medical care reaches just a fraction of the population. 

Despite the very challenging security situation, there have been some improvements in the availability of physical rehabilitation for mine/ERW survivors. Increased international funding for victim assistance somewhat improved economic inclusion initiatives for mine/ERW survivors from 2007 to mid-2012. However, these programs were insufficient to meet demand and they ended in mid-2012 when international funding through UNMAS ceased. Psychological support for mine/ERW survivors is entirely absent in South Sudan. This significantly reduced, among other things, economic inclusion opportunities for mine/ERW survivors. The South Sudan Landmine Victims Association (SSLMVA) reported a decline in availability of services across all pillars of victim assistance in 2013.[9] 

The South Sudan National Mine Action Strategic Plan 2012–2016 included victim assistance. The Victim Assistance Coordination Group changed its name to the Victim Assistance and Disability Working Group and steps were taken to integrate victim assistance and disability into the work of all relevant government ministries. 

Violent conflict began was still ongoing in 2016, causing a protracted crisis and disrupting victim assistance efforts. During the conflict, dozens of attacks have been reported against humanitarian organizations, limiting their ability to provide services.[10]

Victim assistance in 2015

In 2015, ongoing conflict caused widespread displacement and prevented the provision of services to survivors. There was a lack of funding for victim assistance programming and the government reported many challenges, which hindered the implementation of the Maputo Action Plan.[11]

Assessing victim assistance needs 

No needs assessments of survivors were carried out by the government of South Sudan in 2015.

Victim assistance coordination[12]

Government coordinating body/focal point

MGCSW with support from the National Mine Action Authority (NMAA)

Coordinating mechanism

Victim Assistance and Disability Working Group (VADWG) chaired by MGCSW and co-chaired by NMAA


South Sudan National Mine Action Strategic Plan 2012–2016


The VADWG only held one meeting between September 2014 and June 2015 due to funding difficulties.[13] The 19 participating bodies included government ministries, DPOs, SSLMVA, NGO service providers, UNMAS, the ICRC, and other stakeholders.[14] 

In the UN mine action cluster strategy for 2014–2016 (developed in 2013),[15] the priority activities for victim assistance were to be a focus on community awareness and provision or development of:

  • Basic rehabilitation services;
  • Psychosocial support;
  • Income-generating activities; and
  • Referral systems. 

The strategy proposed that the sub-cluster “prioritize states where survivor assistance needs are of highest concern, including Central Equatoria, Jonglei, [and] Unity.”[16]

The VADWG has focal points within government ministries and commissions to mainstream victim assistance and disability issues throughout government structures.[17]

In 2015, some progress was made toward the first victim assistance objectives of the Mine Action Strategic Plan 2012–2016. The three victim assistance objectives were:

  • Establish an information system for persons with disabilities to provide reliable, systematic, and comprehensive information on persons with disabilities, including landmine and ERW victims;
  • Accede to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the end of 2013[18] and adopt the necessary national laws to protect the rights of landmine/ERW survivors and persons with disabilities; and
  • Ensure equal access to rehabilitation, psychosocial (including peer support), and socio-economic inclusion services for all landmine and ERW victims, as well as women, girls, boys, and men with disabilities.[19]

Limited progress toward the implementation of the strategic plan was attributed to the decrease in donor funds for victim assistance activities.[20] One source also saw it as being due to the “constant lack of transparency amongst the national NGOs that implemented VA [victim assistance] projects in past.”[21] 

The national disability policy entered parliament for ratification in 2014, resulting in some progress toward the objective of joining the CRPD as well, but progress on both the national disability policy and accession to the CRPD stalled.[22]

In Yei country, victim assistance coordination meetings with NMAA were held irregularly due to logistical and financial constraints. The Yei Municipality Department of Gender and Social Development convened quarterly meetings with Handicap International (HI), representatives of the UN Mine Action Coordination Center (UNMACC), the Union of Persons with Disabilities (UPD), the Landmine Survivor Association (LSA), War Wounded Hero (WWH, an organization of disabled veterans), and other relevant disability-related stakeholders.[23]

South Sudan did not make any victim assistance statements at the Mine Ban Treaty Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties in 2015 or at the Third Review Conference in Maputo, Mozambique in June 2014.

Inclusion and participation in victim assistance

Survivors and their representative organizations participated in the development of the National Disability and Inclusion Policy (2013), and in the review of the South Sudanese constitution. The National Disability and Inclusion Policy remained in draft form throughout 2015.[24]

Representatives of organizations of persons with disabilities were included in the meetings of the VADWG. Due to a lack of funds, the SSLMVA was inactive throughout 2015, severely limiting the opportunity for survivors to participate in formal meetings and conferences.[25]

Service accessibility and effectiveness

Victim assistance activities[26]

Name of organization

Type of organization

Type of activity

Changes in quality/coverage of service in 2015



Capacity-building for survivor associations and DPOs




Support for the national Landmine Victim Association (SSLMVA)

Reduced, leading to dormancy of SSLMVA

Ministry of Social Development of Central Equatoria and Lakes States


Physical rehabilitation through the Rumbek Center and the Nile Assistance for the Disabled Center in Juba


Central Equatorial State Government


Physical rehabilitation and psychosocial counseling through the Juba Rehabilitation Center (national referral center)



National Survivor Network

Participation in relevant policy-making; assessment of survivors’ needs

All activities have ceased

Equatoria State Association of Disabled (ESAD)

National NGO

Skills trainings and income-generating activities in Juba, Central Equatoria state; peer support for members

All activities have ceased


International NGO

Basic rehabilitation services; training for health professionals in rehabilitation; needs assessment; referrals for victim assistance services; micro-grants to DPOs; awareness-raising and advocacy on disability rights

Ongoing; some services delayed due to conflict

Organization of Volunteers for International Cooperation (OVCI)

International NGO

Community-based rehabilitation in Kator and Munuki districts, Juba, occupational therapy



International organization

Emergency first-aid to conflict casualties and capacity-building for health centers’ emergency response; support for national Rehabilitation Reference Center (Juba) and Rumbek Rehabilitation Center; Physical Rehabilitation Unit in Wau

Ongoing; some programs delayed due to conflict


Emergency and continuing medical care 

In 2015, the ICRC maintained its operations in South Sudan, supporting 17 government and opposition-controlled hospitals to treat war-wounded individuals and deploying six surgical teams to augment national capacity. The ICRC also provided supplies and logistical support to hospitals and health centers.[27]

Physical rehabilitation including prosthetics 

The overall rehabilitation capacity in the country was insufficient to meet the demand for these services, with many survivors either unaware of rehabilitation services or unable to access the two available centers because of their distance from survivors’ homes.

The ICRC provided free support to persons with disabilities at two rehabilitation centers and a prosthetic/orthotic clinic. The ICRC and the MGCSW signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to improve the capacity of the rehabilitation centers’ staff and developed a national policy on rehabilitation.[28] 

HI trained health workers in Yei town on physical rehabilitation and continued to support rehabilitation activities at Yei hospital and two health clinics. HI also provided support for some persons to receive rehabilitation services in Juba from the ICRC-supported facilities.[29] 

Economic inclusion

HI, with support from UNMAS, provided training on small business management to hundreds of landmine survivors and persons with disabilities. Trainees also received micro-grants.[30]

The ICRC supported a self-help group in Rumbek to launch a small business and referred other survivors and persons with disability to NGOs providing vocational training.[31]

Psychological support and social inclusion 

Twenty individuals in Yei town formed three support groups that provide peer support to landmine survivors and persons with disabilities. HI hosted awareness-raising sessions to combat stigma and encourage the inclusion of persons with disabilities. HI also support the construction of ramps and adapted toilets in order to make five service providers in Yei town physically accessible.[32] 

The International Organization for Migration began a psychosocial support program for civilians in Bor, Jonglei state, focusing on internally displaced persons in 2014. The program expanded to Unity state in 2015.[33] 

Laws and policies 

As of 1 October 2016, the national disability policy was still in parliament awaiting ratification.[34]

As of 1 October 2016, South Sudan had not signed the CRPD.

[1] Email from Mohammad Kabir Rahimi, UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) South Sudan, 26 March 2016; Republic of South Sudan Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form J; UNMAS South Sudan, “Monthly IMSMA Report,” December 2015.

[2] UNMAS South Sudan, “IMSMA Monthly Report,” December 2015.

[3] Republic of South Sudan, Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form J.

[4] See previous editions of the Landmine Monitor.

[5] Email from Mohammad Kabir Rahimi, UNMAS South Sudan, 26 March 2016.

[6] Ibid.

[7] See previous editions of the Landmine Monitor.

[8] MGCSW, “Victim Assistance Report Southern Sudan for the year 2010 and 2011. Southern Sudan Presentation, On States Party Meeting As From 20 To 24th June, 2011,” provided by Nathan Wojia Pitia Mono, Director General, MGCSW, in Geneva, 24 June 2011.

[9] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Apollo Soro, Representative, SSLMVA, 25 April 2014.

[10] United States (US) Department of State, “Country Report on Human Rights Practices, 2015, South Sudan,” Washington, DC, 16 April 2016.

[11] Republic of South Sudan, Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form J.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Geoffrey L Duke, South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms, 14 July 2015.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Lucia Morera, HI South Sudan, 11 March 2014.

[16] “Cluster Strategy and Monitoring Plan Template 2014–2016 South Sudan CAP,” provided via email by Lucia Morera, HI South Sudan, 11 March 2014.

[17] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Nathan Pitia, MGCSW, 10 May 2013.

[18] Originally a goal that was aimed to be achieved by the end of 2012. South Sudan has yet to accede to the convention.

[19] “South Sudan National Mine Action Strategic Plan 2012–2016,” June 2012, p. vii.

[20] Responses to Monitor questionnaire by Apollo Soro, SSLMVA, 25 April 2014; and by Arek John Akot Kon, UNMAS South Sudan, 24 March 2014.

[21] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Arek John Akot Kon, UNMAS South Sudan, 24 March 2014.

[22] Response to Monitor questionnaire by Charles Opoka Okumu, Acting Director General For Social Welfare, Ministry of Gender Child and Social Welfare, 7 August 2015; interview with Geoffrey L Duke, South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms, 14 October 2016.

[23] Response to Monitor questionnaire from Omar Gamdullaev, Victim Assistance Project Manager, HI, 3 April 2016.

[24] Interview with Geoffrey L Duke, South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms, 14 October 2016.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.; response to Monitor questionnaire from Omar Gamdullaev, HI, 3 April 2016; ICRC, “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, 2016; and UNMAS South Sudan, “Mine Action News November 2015,” undated.

[27] ICRC “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, 2016, p. 210.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Response to Monitor questionnaire from Omar Gamdullaev, HI, 3 April 2016.

[30] Ibid.

[31] ICRC, “Annual Report 2015,” Geneva, 2016, p. 210.

[32] Response to Monitor questionnaire from Omar Gamdullaev, HI, 3 April 2016.

[33] “South Sudan: from Italy 1 million Euros for psychological support IDPs,”, 5 July 2015.

[34] Interview with Geoffrey L Duke, South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms, 14 October 2016.