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South Sudan, 12 August 2013: Youth Migration: Moving South Sudan Forward

JUBA, 12 August 2013 – South Sudan today joined the rest of the world to mark the International Youth Day. The annual event will this year be celebrated under the theme “Youth Migration: Moving South Sudan forward,” focusing on youth migration and its impact on development.

Following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 and the Independence of South Sudan in 2011, the new nation has seen an influx of young people returning into the country mainly from neighbouring Sudan, East Africa and beyond. Inter-communal conflicts and conflict in neighbouring countries continue to displace young people in and out of the country. 

Globally, over 21 million young people migrate annually yet little is known about their struggles and experiences. Many young immigrants face equal or greater struggles, including discrimination, human rights violations and face the risk of sexual exploitation and abuse. Some of the challenges that young immigrants and returnees in South Sudan continue to face include discrimination, loss of livelihood, lack of education, psychological trauma and separation from family and friends.    

“We returned to South Sudan because we were told to return to our country. Schooling and learning is difficult due to language differences and because we are still living in a transit site,” said 11-year old Asunta-a South Sudan returnee.

However many young South Sudanese are returning to contribute towards the development of their country. 

“I would like to be a governor when I grow up because I want to help my people especially the poor and the needy,” said 14-year old Regina James

“With over 70% of the population in South Sudan under the age of 30, South Sudan’s focus on its youth will be crucial in stimulating social and economic development as well as building the future of the country since the future depends on young people,” said UNICEF’s Representative Dr Iyorlumun Uhaa.

UNICEF supports the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and Education to promote youth skills development, youth services and increasing youth participation mechanisms.



UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: 

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For more information, please contact:

Mercy Kolok, Communication Officer, UNICEF South Sudan, (+211 (0) 955639658) E-mail:



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