I spent the month of June (2012) in Burma (Myanmar) interviewing people from different walks of life including a Political activist, NGO workers, other photojournalists, traveller, teachers and even a Monk. I wanted to see what the locals thought of the future of their country since the election of Aung San Suu Kyie to parliament. I was asked by ABC Open the rural website for the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) to publish my findings as part of an ongoing blog. To follow my exiting adventure please follow the link to the ABC Open website below:
The Republic of Sudan is located in the Northeast of the African continent. The country gained independence from British and Egyptian administration in 1956, and since then has experienced famine, drought, and civil war. Sudan has had many government turnovers, mostly controlled by Muslim northern Sudanese favouring Islamic-oriented policies. Disputes have arisen with non-Muslin southern Sudanese, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army, over access to power and resources, which has resulted in two extended periods of civil war (Department of Immigration and Citizenship, 2007).
The first civil war began after independence and lasted until 1972. Fighting started again in 1983. The deaths from the second war and the resulting famine included two million deaths and four million displaced people. In 2003, fighting began again in Darfur which has resulted in over 200,000 deaths and two million displaced people. In 2005, a Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed by both parties which ended the fighting (Department of Immigration and Citizenship, 2007).
The Australian Government’s Humanitarian Programme has helped to resettle many refugees and internally displaced people from Sudan. Sudan became the Programme’s top source country in 2002-2003. After 2005, many Sudanese have also been repatriated to Sudan with the assistance of the United Nations, though this has proved difficult as neglected infrastructure in the south cannot support the immediate return of citizens. As well as this, there are land mines in much of the region and continued violence along country borders and in Darfur. This shows the immense need for refugees and internally displaced Sudanese to be resettled in other countries, such as Australia.
Before being resettled, many Sudanese spent a long period of time in internally displaced peoples’ camps in Sudan or in refugee camps in Kenya, Chad, Ethiopia and Uganda. These camps have very little resources, including severe food and water shortages caused by drought and few medical and education supplies. Some children are born in the camps and know no other way of life. There are also different tribes in the camps which can fuel further conflicts.
It is easy to say a country has experienced civil war without really considering the resulting events that take place. Massive human rights abuses, including the killing of innocent civilians, even genocide, have taken place in Sudan. Possibly the worst element of the civil war is child soldiers and ‘lost boys’. Child soldiers are recruited by rebel groups and ‘lost boys’ have become separated from their families after fleeing war regions for fear they will be recruited. A refugee camp in Kenya was established especially for these children. These children have had to trek on their own for weeks or months to find safety in refugee camps. Along the way they have had to flee rebel attacks, wild animals, and try and find food and water. The atrocities of war that these children have experienced and witnessed will be memories that stay with them forever, as well as this, most will never be reunited with their families. Many of these children have been resettled in Australia.
More information on Sudanese Lost Boys can be found at:
Information on the situation in Sudan can be found at:
Information on how Australia is helping Sudanese refugees: