Human Security Spring 2014
(Name of country) – Country report 4 – Freedom from fear
Sudan existed in ancient times and was known under the name Kush. The present name Sudan comes from the Aramaic language “Bilaad-el-sud” and means “Country of the blacks”. Christianity was accepted and spread through the northern part of the country. Later, about 700 AD, many Arabs invaded Sudan and spread Islam as a religion. The second Islamic wave in 1820 initiated inhumanity and cruelty in the country. The Sudanese people were turned into slaves by the Arabs who called them “Black gold”. Finally troops were sent by Egypt and Great Britain to separate Northern and Southern Sudan and stop the slavery.
The population of North Sudan practiced mainly Islam while the people of Southern Sudan were Christian’s followers and the country became rich in African culture. Unfortunately the British took a very wrong decision in 1847 to unite both countries and establish one instead. It was a terrible mistake because the northern and the southern people were so different particularly in religion so that lead to the first civil war in 1955 which and lasted in 1972 taking thousands of victims. Finally a peace agreement was signed, called the Addis Ababa Agreement. The peace existed about ten years when the southern Sudanese started to rebel realizing that they could not ever reach full independence. The next civil war started on May 16th, 1983 because of the desire of the Government of North Sudan to impose Sharia (Islamic law) on the whole country nevertheless the Arab Muslims were only 33% of the entire population. More than 2 million Christians who lived in South Sudan were killed. The war continued till 2005 when a peace agreement was signed expiring in 2010 until when the Southern Sudanese have to decide if they wanted to go on being part of the unified Sudan or establish their independent country. Meanwhile a lot of oil was discovered in South Sudan what made the possibility given by that agreement to the Southern Sudanese to form a State looked very doubtful.
Similar conflict broke out in Darfur, a region in West Sudan. It began in February, 2003 when two rebel groups of non – Arabs rose in arms against the Khartoum government, dominated by Arabs, for more economic and political rights for several African tribes in the region of Darfur. To suppress the rebels the Khartoum government armed a group of people called Janjaweed. Janjaweed comes from Arabic words for men, gun and horse. They formed a militia with designation to invade and destroy villages and kill everybody who did not support the Khartoum government. Janjaweed killed hundreds of thousand people, destroyed their villages. Who was not killed was sentenced to starvation and homeless. Actually the reality was devastating.
The whole conflict with the two civil wars had a big impact on Sudanese people. Women’s and children’s lives were mainly destroyed due to the wars. Women along hunger and shortage of homes were maltreated and abused. Many of them were turned to sexual slaves.
The situation of children was worse. They were separated from their families and put to poverty. They lost any possibility of education, healthcare. In the article Children of South Sudan is written: “The healthcare situation is critical particularly for children. A girl of 15 years is more likely to die during childbirth than to go to school. In addition more than 80% of South Sudanese have no access to toilets.” (Morgan Daget, Humanium, July 12, 2012)
The number of street children who lived on the streets and did not remember their families from whom they were separated was unknown. The guerrilla movements involved tens of thousands of children as soldiers and put them on the front line. Many groups of children strolled about the country. Due to the efforts of the UNICEF a big group of about 20000 children was directed to the United States in 2005 after the peace agreement was signed giving access to them on the part of international organizations for childcare. It was known as the Lost Boys of Sudan. Mr. Atem’s case is typical for most of the children from that group.
He “was 15 when he joined thousands of other Lost Boys who were resettled in the United States. As an unaccompanied minor he was placed in a foster home. He earned master’s degree in public health from Michigan State University.” After he turned back to Sudan “he became a co-founder of Southern Sudan Health Care Organization which built health clinic that treats more than 100 patients a day in Maar, where he was born. He even learned in 2013 that his sister was still alive. They spoke by telephone and planned to reunite in December. The reunion never happened. Instead the violence erupted.”; “Many, many people are stranded, scattered all over the place” Mr. Atem said.” This is really devastating because we tried to go back and help this country. It’s really a sad situation.” (Nicholas Kulish, Sudan’s Lost Boys Are Drawn into War at Home, the New York Times, Jan. 5, 2014)
Along with the suffering of the people the economic impact is enormous. We can get familiar with the prognosis in case the conflict returns after the scheduled for January 9 referendum made by Coalition of think-tanks from Europe and Africa, announced by Aljazeera. The report says that the war will make the investment climate in Sudan very risky. “This report demonstrates the high cost of conflict. It implies that domestic, regional and international parties should be asking if they are we doing enough to avoid a war that cost over $100 bn and ruin countless lives.” (Matthew Bells from Frontier Economics)
The background of the conflict which lasted about two decades is the power, the role of religion and self-determination. The Sudan People’s Liberation movement/ArmySPLM/A) and the government struggled for resources andselfdetermination. They fought for their independence. There were many endevours to reach peace made by other States, donors and the parties themselves. Such effort was a Regional Pease Initiative under the leading role of Inter Government Authority on Development (IGEAD). The United Nations (UN) closely examined and supported all efforts.
In 2002 when IGAD made remarkable progress, Sudan was visited by the Secretary-General from July, 10-12, 2002. Due to all these actions and efforts, the Machakos Protocol was signed on July 20, 2002 in which both parties agreed on a broad number of disputable questions. They also agreed upon the right of self-determination for the people of South Sudan, the principles of governance, the structure of the government and about the transitional process.
There is much to be desired but the efforts go on till the goals are achieved.
Bhaskar, Ranjit, Al-Jazeera, Sudan War “could cost $100 bn”, November 29, 2010, Web
Daget, Morgan, Help the Children, International Child Sponsorship, Humanium, July 12, 2012
Jewish World Watch, A Brief History of the Conflict in Sudan, Web. www.jewishworldwatch.org
Kulish, Nicholas and Kushkush, Izmail, Sudan’s Lost Boys Are Drawn Into War at Home, Jan.5, 2014