Concerned population


In 2008there was an estimated 1 ,7 million urban IDPs in Khartoum. The IDP population comprised between 23% and 30% of the total population living in the capital (Jacobsen, 2008). These estimations, however, are not totally reliable as there is no accurate demographic data available.


  • Background: IDPs in Khartoum mainly come from the rural areas of South Sudan and the Three Transitional Areas . 15% originate from Darfur.
  • Demographic data: 1/3 of the IDP population of Khartoum is women, 1/5 is children under 5, and a significant part of the population is composed of old men and women. There are relatively few young men among the displaced and most of the population is unemployed. The average household size is 6 to 7 persons.
  • Motivations to flee: People in Sudan flee for mixed reasons (to escape the war but also because of its indirect consequences such as unemployment, lack of services, insecurity etc…).
  • Average time of displacement: 12 years. Due to the protracted situation, whole generations of IDPs were born in Khartoum and are often reluctant to come back to rural areas.
  • Time of arrival:  IDPs have different access to lands according to  their time of arrival in Khartoum. Those who arrived prior to 1983 received a plot of land while others are subjected to recurrent evictions.

Displacement pattern

Since 1970′s , Khartoum has experienced mass influxes of internal displaced fleeing rural areas because of :

  • Drought and famine, especially in the 1970′s and beginning of 1980′s in the West and East of the country
  • The two successive civil wars between the North and the South (1956 – 1972 and 1983 – 2005)
  • The conflict in Darfur since 2002
After the 2005 peace Agreements, some IDPs returned to their respective regions of origin. However, the incapacity of such regions to absorb these populations and the pervasive insecurity in these areas hindered the effective return of IDPs. Hence some of them, who had previously agreed to return, came back to Khartoum in recent years.

Living areas

The IDP population mainly lives in very poor areas, including in the main so called “IDP camps” within Khartoum (Omdurman el Salaam, Wad el Bashir, Mayo and Jebel Awlia). About 10% of IDPs are settled in those  4 main camps while the majority live in squatter settlements or in relocation sites.


Source: City limits: urbanization and vulnerability in Sudan, Khartoum case study, Jan. 2011, Humanitarian Policy Group

Protection concerns

  • Forced evictions: In Sudan, evictions are part of an “urban development policy” aiming at re-planning the city. About 300 000 IDPs’ houses were demolished between 2003 and 2006 and IDPs where left homeless or were forcibly relocated to areas were services are not available.
  • Poor housing conditions: in November 2004, over 80 % IDPs were living in squalid shelters made out of paper and plastic.
  • Health concerns: diarrhoea was the first cause of death among urban IDPs in the city in 2004, being responsible of almost 37 % of the registered deaths.

Legal framework

The government of Sudan has been reluctant to integrating IDPs in Karthoum and has been fostering the relocation solution to the plight of IDPs.


Guiding principals on Internal Displacement, 1998: non recognized


International Conference of the Great Lakes Pact and Protocol: signatory
AU Convention on protection and assistance to IDPs in Africa: endorsed


HAC-SRRC agreement on IDPs
2009 National IDP policy drafted by the government

UNHCR Operation

The lack of IDP registration makes almost impossible any attempt to identify precisely the concerned population. With time, it is becoming more and more difficult to distinguish the IDP population within the rest of unprotected people such as irregular migrants and urban poor.

Online Resources:

Martin, Ellen and Mosel, Irina (2011) City Limits: Urbanization and vulnerability in Sudan, LondonHumanitarian Policy Group, Overseas Development Institute

International Refugee Rights Initiative,The Disappearance of Sudan? Life in Khartoum for citizens without rights, Citizenship and Displacement in the Great Lake region, Working Paper 9, May 2013

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