What is happening in Sudan?

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Women and youth led the 2019 revolution in Sudan. Credit: Sari Omer

When war broke out in Sudan on April 15, 2023, it was sudden, unexpected and decades in the making.

In 2019, a popular revolution brought down Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year dictatorship that saw decades of oppression, conflict and genocide. The revolution ushered in a joint military-civilian government. For a moment, there was hope that this transitional government would soon lead to democratic civilian rule. But a coup cut that hope short in 2021 when the military ousted its civilian governing partners and took control of the country.

It was vestiges of the long, brutal dictatorship that sparked the war that rages today. Twenty years ago, Bashir-backed militias committed genocidal crimes in Darfur, a region in western Sudan. These militias later became the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that would clash with the Sudanese military on April 15 in Khartoum. These confrontations quickly escalated into an all-out war in many parts of the country, especially Khartoum and Darfur.

The conflict has only intensified since. Thousands of civilians have died caught in the crossfire. Women are at huge risk of sexual violence, with reports of forced marriage, kidnapping and sexual slavery. More than 6 million people have been forced from their homes, with many now living in refugee camps – some of which are rife with disease.  

The horrors go on. But so does the resistance. Thanks to individual donors, we have been able to provide flexible financial support, including for emergency needs, to our Sudanese counterparts as they respond to this crisis. We are committed to supporting our counterparts for the long term as they regroup and continue to work for women’s rights, gender justice, peace and democracy.

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