The protracted armed conflict in Sudan and South Sudan has taken an enormous toll on the lives of the Sudanese people since it first gained its independence in 1956. There have been two protracted civil wars in Sudan’s history, 1955-1972 and from 1983-2005. Estimates range widely in the number of people that have been killed, including, as many as 2.5 million. In addition, it has been estimated that some 20,000 boys were either orphaned or separated from their parents as a result of the second protracted armed conflict alone. Further, a referendum that was held in January 2011 on the question of whether Southern Sudan should become independent received a 98 percent vote in favour of independence. Consequently, on July 9, 2011, South Sudan became an independent state.
The UNHCR’s recently released annual Global Trends report has noted that 55 percent of all refugees in the world today come from five affected countries, namely, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan. It is noteworthy that Sudan and South Sudan are on the limited list of countries that account for the majority of the world’s refugees. The UNHCR Global Trends reported underscored the point that war remains the dominant cause of refugees in the world today.
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In collaboration and consultation with several internal and external experts on Sudan, the Planning Committee has attempted to create and construct spaces over the course of a two-day symposium period that will allow participants to collectively meet the following objectives:
- Provide a space where various stakeholders and noted experts involved in the Sudan/South Sudan crisis can meet, discuss, and exchange ideas on present challenges and brainstorm cross-sector solutions on how to address such challenges going forward
- Foster dialogue between and among different disciplines of practitioners and policy-makers from the state, regional and international level to consider a wide range of social, economic, and political factors that are affecting the current state of affairs in both Sudan and South Sudan.
- Develop an informal network among participants that can serve as a means for future exchange and collaboration to address the two Sudan’s challenges in the future.
- Devise a set of practical and reasonably achievable actions, initiatives and programs to help address the humanitarian crisis confronting the two Sudans.
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