07 August 2009

Sudan At-A-Glance

• Gained independence from the UK in 1956

• Two long civil wars over the ensuing 40 years. The second one left 2 million dead and 4 million displaced.

• Ruled mainly by military regimes favoring Islamic-oriented governments

• Conflicts arise because ruling power – principally Muslim Arabs - is concentrated in the north, but the southern populace is largely non-Muslim, non-Arab.

• The North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in January 2005, granted the southern rebels autonomy for six years.

• A separate conflict in the western region of Darfur in 2003, has left 200,000-400,000 dead and 2 million displaced.

• The UN took command of the Darfur peacekeeping operation from the African Union on 31 December 2007.

• As of early 2009, peacekeeping troops were struggling to stabilize the situation, which has become increasingly regional in scope, and has brought instability to eastern Chad, and Sudanese incursions into the Central African Republic.

• Sudan also has faced large refugee influxes from neighboring countries, primarily Ethiopia and Chad.

• Humanitarian assistance in severely hindered by armed conflict, poor transport infrastructure, and lack of government.

Capital: Khartoum

Total Area: 2,505,813 sq km – Largest country in Africa. (slightly more than one-quarter the size of the US)

Population: 41,087,825 - -40.7% under the age of 15.

Major infectious disease risk: VERY HIGH

Ethnic groups: Black 52%, Arab 39%, Beja 6%, foreigners 2%, other 1%

Religions: Sunni Muslim 70% (in north), Christian 5% (mostly in south and Khartoum), indigenous beliefs 25%

Languages: Arabic (official), English (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages

Literacy: 61.1% of people age 15 and over can read and write.

Government type: Government of National Unity (GNU) - the National Congress Party (NCP) and Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) formed a power-sharing government under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

Legal system: Based on English common law and Islamic law; Islamic law applies to all residents of the northern states regardless of their religion; however, the CPA establishes some protections for non-Muslims in Khartoum

Judicial branch: Constitutional Court of nine justices; National Supreme Court; National Courts of Appeal; other national courts

Economy: Crude oil export since 1999. Oil production quadrupled between 1999 and 2003. Unlike most oil producing states, Western oil companies have minimal presence. Agricultural production remains important, because it employs 80% of the work force and contributes a third of GDP. Estimated GDP- $87.27 billion (2008). 40% of population below the poverty line (2004).

Communications: Internet users-1.5 million (2007); Cell phones- 7.464 million; 3 TV stations

Military: Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF): Land Forces, Navy, Sudanese Air Force (Sikakh al-Jawwiya as-Sudaniya), Popular Defense Forces; Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA): Land Forces (2009)

Refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs): 5.3 - 6.2 million (civil war 1983-2005; ongoing conflict in Darfur region) (2007)

Human Trafficking: Sudan is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked internally for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation; Sudan is also a transit and destination country for Ethiopian women trafficked abroad for domestic servitude. Sudanese women and girls are trafficked within the country, as well as possibly to Middle Eastern countries for domestic servitude. They are also trafficked to rebel organizations and militias in Sudan, Uganda, and Democratic Republic of Congo.

International Challenges

• Sudan’s decades of civil conflict have penetrated its neighboring states

• As of 2006, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda provided shelter for over half a million Sudanese refugees, which includes 240,000 Darfur residents driven from their homes by Janjawid armed militia and the Sudanese military forces.

• Sudan accuses Eritrea of supporting Sudanese rebel groups.

• Ongoing border disputes with Ethiopia, exacerbated by civil and ethnic fighting in eastern Sudan

• Border/sovereignty disputes between Sudan and Kenya about the "Ilemi Triangle."

• Periodic violent skirmishes with pastoral Sudanese residents along the border with the Central African Republic over water and grazing rights.

Domestic Challenges

Sudan faces major challenges on all fronts:

• Darfur crisis continues to plague the West

• Civil and ethnic fighting, intermixed with border disputes, affect the East

• Deep, enduring disputes continue between factions in the North and South

These are complex and diverse problems, not a monolithic challenge. Wrapped around the political, ethnic, and religious differences is increasing competition for the nation’s vital, but scarce resources such as oil and water.

The Darfur crisis has garnered the most public attention and become the public face of the turbulent nation, but the problems facing other regions are certainly non-trivial. South Sudan, for example, remains one of the most underdeveloped regions in the world. The lack of strong governance and health infrastructure and the proliferation of weapons have created a pervasive climate of disorder and insecurity. Not quite as bad as in neighboring Somalia, perhaps, but certainly troubling. The Small Arms Survey project (an independent research project of the Graduate Institute of International Studies) recently conducted their Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment (HSBA) in Sudan southern “Lake States” region.

The HSBA – focusing on the impact of “small arms” - characterizes the situation in the Lake States (which, of course, may not generalize to the entire South of Sudan) as follows:

• Lakes State residents are heavily armed. More than one-third (35 per cent) of respondents admitted that they or someone in their compound possessed a firearm. Among respondents reporting weapons ownership, the most commonly held arms included AK-47 automatic assault rifles (31 per cent),

• Almost two-thirds of respondents believe that communities are over-armed. Sixty-three per cent believe that there are too many guns in the community, with the primary group considered over-armed being civilians (31 per cent), followed by youth (19 per cent), criminals (16 per cent), and ex-combatants (13 per cent).

• Contrary to expectations, fewer than half of respondents feel that their personal security has improved since the signing of the CPA. Well under half of respondents claimed to feel safe walking alone at night or to another village Even more dramatically, one-third reported feeling unsafe walking alone during the day.

• Violent insecurity is pervasive—with robbery and fights most commonly reported. More than half of all households reported having been robbed and involved in a physical fight with someone from outside their compound since the signing of the CPA. Robberies, armed attacks, and intentional fatal injuries were most commonly attributed to conflicts over livestock. Violent deaths were also frequently linked to ‘fights with enemies’, usually over cattle, grazing land, and water sources. Within compounds, such fights were most commonly associated with ‘disobedience’ or, more likely, domestic and intimate partner violence.

• Only about one-quarter of those who died from violent attacks received medical treatment. Because of the great distances that must be travelled to reach medical facilities—often five to six hours—most (74 per cent) people who died from injuries were not able to seek medical treatment after being wounded.

Looking to the Future

The 2005 North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), provided a 6 year interim solution. We are already four years into that term. The country is now having to think about how they will proceed – how will elections be handled (which as we see in Afghanistan, can be quite complex) and how will their outcomes be received (which as we see from Iran, can be a less-than-straightforward process).

The U.S. Institute of Peace has been trying to think about Sudan’s future. They held three workshops in April-May of this year with at least 20 Sudan experts focused on understanding the obstacles and opportunities for preventing political violence in Sudan through 2011.

They outline the following summary of those deliberations:

• Absent a change in current trends, further political violence in Sudan will be hard to avoid.
• Lack of governance capacity in the South and failure to resolve key issues between the North and South are important factors that can lead to political violence surrounding the referendum, slated for 2011, on whether the South secedes or remains part of a united Sudan.
• The parties need a shared sense of confidence about post-2011 futures.
• The North should be encouraged to cooperate in the referendum process and accept the outcome.
• The Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) should devote more energy and resources to governance and service delivery rather than building military capability.
• The international community needs an assistance strategy focused on enhancing the GOSS’s capacity to deliver services through local governments.
• The United States and the international community should pressure and assist the parties to promptly pass referendum legislation and address fundamental issues (e.g., oil and boundaries) before the referendum.