Sudan and the Sudanese Refugee Crisis | World Refugee Day 2020

Today we would like to highlight Sudan and South Sudan. Both countries are located in northeastern Africa, and prior to the south’s secession in 2011, Sudan was the largest country in Africa. The differences between northern and southern Sudan date back to ancient times. Northern Sudan typically follows Islam and the Arabic language due to its closer proximity to the Mediterranean, whereas southern Sudan typically follows older African languages and cultures.

Photo by Erik Hathaway on Unsplash

After the country gained its independence in 1956, the diversity of the people’s desires contributed to a frequently changing government. In particular, the North and South differed over whether to include Islamic law or whether to stay secular. The disagreements culminated in multiple civil wars, the first from 1955 until 1972, and then from 1983 until 2005. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 ended warfare and allowed the South semiautonomous status, with the promise of a referendum on independence in 2011. At this time, the South seceded, creating Sudan and South Sudan as we know today.

Sudan is rich in the arts including literature, painting, weaving, pottery making, calligraphy, and photography. Sudan’s music is becoming increasingly more characteristic of the country, reflecting its diversity. Sudan is also home to famous archaeological sites, with the ruins of Kush and the city of Meroe being designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

In South Sudan, violence continues. Almost two-thirds of refugees are children under the age of 18. The UNHCR has classified the refugee situation as a humanitarian emergency as the number of Sudanese refugees passed the two million mark. In addition to the violence and sexual attacks, disease, flooding, and food shortages add to the issues faced by the Sudanese people.

This is a very brief overview of the history and conflicts, and we encourage you to learn more about the Sudanese community and the refugee crisis. To learn more about South Sudan’s refugee crisis and how you can help, click here. Please come back tomorrow as we finish highlighting our Broome County refugee populations.

Al-Shahi, Ahmed S., et al. “Sudan.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 29 Jan. 2020,

“South Sudan Refugee Crisis: Aid, Statistics and News: USA for UNHCR.” South Sudan Refugee Crisis: Aid, Statistics and News | USA for UNHCR,


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