Overview of displacement in Sudan: The causes, dynamics, and consequences

Originally Published at: MPC Blog

In mid-April, fighting erupted in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). As of 18 June 2023, the conflict has resulted in over 1,000 civilians deaths and left 2.2 million people displaced; of 78% whom are Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Thisraises the total number of IDPs in Sudan to over 5.5 million.

The fighting, sparked by a power struggle between military leader commanders Lt Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan of the SAF and RSF commander Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, has turned into a war for survival. The causes, and the consequences of this war extend beyond the generals themselves. The resolution of this war requires more, not just the generals’ will, but also multi-stakeholder efforts, including extra-national approaches, which transcends the battlefields. The outcome will most likely determine the future political landscape of Sudan, particularly in how it impacts on the precarious, drawn-out centre-periphery relations, but also in how it shapes the transition to a constitutional democracyIt will also affect the central government’s relations with extra-national forces, including neighbouring countries, particularly Egypt, Chad, South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the Central African Republic (CAR)and Libya.

This post discusses how Sudan’s ongoing conflict and displacement arise from a mix of factors, mainly poorly managed political transitions, an unwillingness to commit to ending hostilities, tumultuous centre-periphery relations, and unwarranted extranational geopolitical interferences. Solutions to the most of the displacement could be found in Sudan’s transition to a constitutional democracy, effective conflict prevention, and a move to address power imbalances that are exacerbated by both regional and extra-regional forces.

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