Category Archives: Sudan

Posts covering Sudan.

Health Problems Plaguing Sudan, South Sudan

On the heels of more clashes between government forces and insurgents, the World Health Organization has confirmed an outbreak of yellow fever in regions of Sudan and South Sudan.

The WHO confirms 14 people have died so far with 44 reported cases. The cases were reported in 12 areas: Lagawa, Kailak, Muglad and Abyei localities in West Kordofan and Elreef Alshargi, Abu Gibaiha, Ghadir, Habila, Kadugli, Altadamon, Talodi and Aliri in South Kordofan. The initial cases were reported in workers traveling from Sudanese plantations in October.

Yellow fever is a disease transmitted by infected mosquitos. The World Health Organization estimates yellow fever infects between 840,000 and 1.7 million people in Africa every year, resulting in anywhere from 29,000 to 60,000 deaths.


Photo Credit: Centers for Disease Control 

There is no treatment or cure for yellow fever except for “supportive care”. People can get a preventative vaccine to reduce risk of becoming infected.  Yellow fever affects the body in two stages. The first phase causes fever, muscle pains, shivers and vomiting. Most patients recover after this stage.

The second, more serious phase, leads to jaundice and abdominal pain. Patients may start bleeding from the mouth, nose, or eyes while losing kidney function. About 50% of these patients die in less than two weeks.

The Federal Ministry of Health is planning to organize a “reactive mass vaccination campaign” against yellow fever in the areas where the disease has broken out.
Posted by Courtney Doll

Women’s Rights in Sudan

Developing countries have a history of humans rights abuses. For women in Sudan, this is unfortunately the case there as well.

The Sudanese Penal Code of 1991 sets strict rules for how women can dress in public. The law is not specific towards women, but allows for punishment of anyone who is determined to be dressed “inappropriately”. The exact law says, “whoever does in a public place an indecent act or an act contrary to public morals or wears an obscene outfit or contrary to public morals or causing an annoyance to public feelings shall be punished with flogging which may not exceed 40 lashes or with fine or with both.” (Huffington Post)

In August of 2013, a woman was arrested for refusing to cover her hair with a hijab when she was out in public. According to Sudanese law, that is punishable by flogging if convicted. Amira Osman Hamed was arrested over a decade ago for wearing pants in public. She refused to wear a headscarf because she was protesting the laws requiring her to cover up. 

According to Amnesty International, women suffered many abuses in response to political demonstrations that arose over the summer. Some women were “subjected to repeated virginity tests, amounting to torture or other ill-treatment.” (Amnesty International). Any demonstrators who attempted to get treatment at hospitals were then arrested by plain-clothed security officers.

In February of 2013, a young woman named Safia Ishaq was arrested and then gang-raped by Sudanese officials. Three members of the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service arrested her for participating in a mass protest. When she resisted one of the men, she was beaten unconscious and then gang-raped. When she was released, she uploaded a video about it to YouTube because she refused to stay silent about sexual abuse.

You can read more about Sudan’s human rights violations at


by Courtney Doll

Sudan in the News

It’s been a busy week in the news for Sudan, and a lot of the news reflects poorly on the country. Here’s what’s been making headlines in Sudan this week:

  • Sudan’s most popular newspaper has (finally) been allowed to re-open after being forced closed for a month. The country had a string of protests against rising oil prices that cause extreme censorship of the media. The paper is run by al-Bashir’s uncle. Other media stations forced to close have still not been allowed to re-open. Sudan ranks near the very bottom of the list of countries based on free press. (Via Yahoo! News)


  • The Sudanese foreign minister Ali Ahmed Karti said that Sudan denied the Iranians when they offered to build Sudan missile defense platforms. These platforms would have helped the country stop future Israeli attacks. Many believe Israel attacked Sudan at least twice since 2009. (Via Sudan Tribune)JPEG - 32 kb
  • Parts of the country have begun a large campaign to reduce polio in the country. Officials hope 150,000 people will be able to get vaccinated to help prevent the spread of the disease. At least 3 people have been diagnosed with polio in South Sudan, and officials worry the disease will spread to Sudan.  (Via AllAfrica)
  • Sudan’s presidential assistant, Nafie Ali Nafie, is accusing “some” western countries of using their pull with the World Bank to harm Sudan. He says these countries, which he will not name, are trying to prevent Sudan from obtaining its rights. Nafie “said that Africa has long suffered from foreign agendas behind the humanitarian work, describing the African experience with the western voluntary organizations as “rough.” (via Sudan Tribune)
  • Sources:

Posted by Courtney Doll

Geography of Sudan

Sudan is the largest country in Africa. It is bordered by 9 countries and is along the Red Sea. Based on area in square miles, Sudan is the tenth largest country in the world. Image

Sudan was previously larger, but in 2011, the Southern region seceded and became South Sudan. South Sudan is mostly composed of Christians, who have a long history of fighting with the Muslims located in other regions of Sudan.

Even though Sudan is so large, most it looks exactly the same: like a flat plain. There are not many major landforms in any region. However, one of the few notable landforms is a range of mountains in the northeast and south of Sudan.


Sudan’s highest point is Kinyeti which can be found on its far southern border with Uganda. Most of northern Sudan is desert that is suffering from serious desertification, or the drying out of a region.

Because Sudan is so large, the climate also varies widely. The south of Sudan is quite tropical, while the north is very dry. The temperature varies with the climate, but major rivers also run through the country, causing humidity in bordering cities.

Sudanese Pop Culture

The country of Sudan has a rich entertainment and pop culture industry that stems from a deep tradition of music, theater, and arts. More than 500 ethnic groups live spread out around Sudan, and each brings a different influence to the culture of the country.

The country fell under sharia law in 1989, which is the moral and religious code of Islam. With that, many popular musicians and poets were taken to jail. Other artists fled the country to avoid imprisonment. One of the most popular singers at the time was Mohammed Wardi. He left Sudan to ensure his own safety but is extremely popular with the Sudanese people.


Music suffered under sharia law because artists could either not play or left the country. However, many musical influences came from being under sharia law. The influence of the military brought new instruments and musical styles to the country, such as bagpipes from Scotland.

One of the programs sharia law interrupted was the traditional Zar ceremony. Zar is a “culture-bound syndrome that is briefly described…as a form of spirit possession common in North African and Middle Eastern societies.” ( The purpose of the Zar ceremony is to cure a mental illness by contacting the spirits that are possessing the body. The Zar is supposed to be the last resort to curing a mental illness. The reason Zar is a cultural ceremony is because the ceremony includes drumming and dancing to cure the illness ( The practice is common around Sudan but in southern Egypt as well. The cite also says the ceremony provides a “unique form of relief to women in strictly patriarchal societies.”

Theater is becoming more popular in Sudan as freedom of expression becomes more allowed across the country. Arts Africa says theater groups practice in big cities all around the country, but the center of theater life is in Khartoum. 12 groups exist and use the National Theater for their performances. The National Theater was built in 1959 after Sudanese independence in 1956. The building was originally intended for visiting companies, but as theater became more popular in the country, more national companies were created. There is also a College of Music and Drama in Sudan.

Arts Africa reports some of the best theater is performed in the yearly Bugaa-festival. The festival “at the end of March brings the best theatre-productions of the country together in Khartoum. For a growing national and international audience theatre is celebrated as a space where cultures meet, differences are shown and ‘discussed’ and the  fundamental  pleasures of playing are enjoyed.”


The unstable government and violent conflicts of the late 20th century negatively impacted the cultural growth of Sudan. Sudanese theater had its golden ages in the 1960s-1970s. Musaab Elsawi, a theater critic for the al-Rai al-Aam daily, said Sudan has a long history of theater that ranges from ancient folk drama to contemporary plays that delve into politics and comedy. (Reuters)

Sudanese theater enjoyed its golden period in the 1960s and 1970s, before floundering during years of economic hardship and civil war, he said. “Still, over the past decade, interest in theater has slowly returned, especially after the 2005 peace deal that ended decades of war between the north and south and spurred Sudanese to reflect on national identity and image, he said.” (Reuters)

Most Sudanese identify with their tribes instead of as a whole nation. Some Muslims have attempted to create a national identity based on Arabic culture, without trying to incorporate culture of the South. This has created even more division between tribes who want to keep their own identities.

by: Courtney Doll

Read more:

Struggling in a Post Civil-War State

Struggling in a Post Civil-War State: How the country of Sudan is failing to find a harmony between economic development and environmental concerns in the country

The environment of Sudan struggles to recuperate from decades of civil war that plagued the country. While some conflicts still rage on, the United Nations Environment Programme is working to help the environment recover. Their official statement reads major issues include, ” land degradation, deforestation and the impacts of climate change, that threaten the Sudanese people’s prospects for long-term peace, food security and sustainable development. In addition, complex but clear linkages exist between environmental problems and the ongoing conflict in Darfur, as well as other historical and current conflicts in Sudan.”


Image Credit:

One of Sudan’s greatest issues is deforestation. More than 20 years of civil war depleted most of the country’s resources and delayed development. When the war was over, Sudan set out to change many things, but most of those led to forests being cut down to help development of cities and urban areas.


Image Credit:

UNEP created a plan to help restore the environment in Sudan. One suggestion was to properly manage brick-making, which causes a lot of serious deforestation because it uses up natural resources. UNEP says if it were managed correctly, forestry could actually represent a huge economic sector for Sudan. HBL Deforestation says illegal logging is also a major cause of deforestation in the country. The site says corrupt government officials make money from making illegal deals with loggers to cut down forests. As the problem grows, the forests continue to disappear in a place where natural resources are already dwindling.

Shocking statistics about deforestation in Sudan include (according to UNEP):

  • Deforestation rate is more than 0.84 percent per annum at the
    national level
  • From 1990 and 2005, the country lost 11.6 percent of its forests
  • Some areas are expected to suffer complete deforestation in the next 5-7 years.

Even the United States has acknowledged severe deforestation is an issue in Sudan and surrounding areas. This article from NASA describes the effects of deforestation in Sudan but also countries that face similar debilitating environmental issues and how the problems can be solved.

In the following lecture posted by the Woodrow Wilson Center, two speakers reflect on “efforts to end the ongoing violence in Darfur and build on the 2005 peace agreement between Northern and Southern Sudan must consider how environmental problems such as deforestation, drought, and desertification affect the balance between peace and conflict.”

Posted by Courtney Doll

Globalization and the Economy of Sudan

Sudan has been plagued in the recent years with violence that some countries declare a genocide. Its economy has been affected by the conflict, with some articles claiming the economy is in free-fall. “Inflation continues its relentless rise in Sudan, despite “official figures” suggesting otherwise. The connection between fighting in Jebel Amer (North Darfur) and the Khartoum regime’s desperate need of foreign exchange currency has become steadily clearer.” (Sudan Tribune)

One could debate the ways that globalization is affecting the economy of Sudan, but I believe Sudan is caught in a transitional stage between being a developing and developed country. Steger described a globalized country as a place with “tight global economic, political, cultural and environmental interconnections and flows that makes most of the currently existing borders and boundaries irrelevant.” (Steger, 8-9) With the independence of South Sudan taking 75% of the oil reserves from Sudan, the economy is struggling to reach its peak. The country cannot find political stability. Omar al-Bashir is the current leader of Sudan, but opposition groups continue to rise against his regime. In January, al-Bashir had many opposition leaders arrested because they signed a charter known as the “New Dawn Charter”, pledging to overthrow al-Bashir and create a democracy (IRIN Humanitarian News). I think that until the country finds political harmony, their economy will continue to suffer. However, Zakaria makes a great point. He says that in this day and age, economics is trumping politics and the threat of wars and cops have lost much of their ability to derail markets (Zakaria, 19). There is no definite proof right now on how the economy is being shaped by the turmoil, but I still believe it has a negative effect on total gross domestic output.


Sudan is a member country of the United Nations. It joined December 11, 1956.  Membership is granted to any “peace loving country” approved by the General Assembly. However, Sudan does not sit on any major council of the UN.

Sudan has attempted to work with the IMF multiple times, but in 1993, “the IMF suspended Sudan’s voting rights and the World Bank suspended Sudan’s right to make withdrawals under effective and fully disbursed loans and credits” (Wiki). Both Sudan and South Sudan operate on the Sudanese pound, and the exchange rate is about 1 American dollar to 1.3 Sudanese pounds currently.

Posted by Courtney Doll


Khartoum: Jewel Of The Desert

Quick facts about Sudan (CIA World Factbook):

  • Population: 34,847,910
  • Religions: Sunni Muslim, Christianity
  • Total life expectancy: about 63 years
  • Location: bordering the Red Sea, between Egypt and Eritrea
  • Ethnic groups: Sudanese Arab (approximately 70%), Fur, Beja, Nuba, Fallata

Sudan is facing a number of problems currently, one of the largest being a poor economy. Sudan has been suffering since South Sudan separated and formed its own country in July 2011. South Sudan was the region of the country that was responsibly for approximately 75% of Sudan’s oil production, which sustained the economy.

Another large problem for Sudan is the ongoing genocide occurring in Darfur.


Darfur is composed of many different ethnic tribes, a few of which decided to rebel against the government in the early 2000’s. The government quickly responded by targeting those ethnic groups and killing their members. Today, the government continues to target the tribes, but the tribes also suffer from internal divisions that make it harder to fight as a cohesive unit ( According to the United Human Rights Council, around 5,000 people are killed each month in the conflict between the military government and people who feel the government is not protecting its citizens. The International Criminal Court has been fighting to reduce the genocide for years by launching investigations into human rights violations in Darfur. “On March 4, 2009 Sudanese President Omar al Bashir became the first sitting president to be indicted by ICC for directing a campaign of mass killing, rape, and pillage against civilians in Darfur.”

Below is a documentary produced by BBC about the ongoing genocide in Darfur and China’s involvement.

One of the most recent issues in Sudan has been immense flooding that has displaced thousands. The Sudan Tribune reported, in conjunction with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, that the heavy rains have affected 530,000 people across Sudan and destroyed or damaged 74,000 homes. The Guardian is reporting that 48 people are dead after the recent floods.

MDG : Floods in Sudan : A Sudanese homeless family rest on the side of a highway in Khartoum

The World Health Organization “has expressed concerns that heavy rains and floods may aggravate outbreaks of communicable diseases, particularly diarrhoea, malaria, dengue fever and Rift Valley fever.” This could be increasingly dangerous in an area such as Sudan with poor sanitation and lack of healthcare. There is a possibility water-borne illnesses could spread even faster due to the large amounts of standing water on the ground.

Posted by Courtney Doll