Islamic-oriented military regimes have ruled national politics in Sudan since it's independence from the UK in 1956. It has endured two grueling civil wars based on political and social domination by the predominantly Muslim regim in the north of the southern Sudanese, who were both non-Muslim and non-Arab. The second civil war starting in 1983 left four million people displaced and more than two million deaths by 2003. A separate conflict in the western region of Darfur broke out in 2003, consequently displacing almost two million people. large refugee influxes from Ethiopia and Chad, and up to 400,000 deaths. In January 2005, a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) was signed, followed by a referendum of independence for Southern Sudan in February 2011.
Landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) are a result of more than two decades of armed conflict between the Government of Sudan and non-state armed groups in the south, mainly the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army. According the Mine and Cluster Munitions Monitor, of Sudan’s 25 states, 19 have previously been suspected to be mine-affected.
Landmines and ERW have made roads impassable and land unusable for post-conflict resettlement and agriculture, posing a serious threat to returning refugees and Internally Displaced People (IDP). Between February and May 2011, MAG teams discovered 132 new dangerous acres in Kassala, highlighting the large amount of contamination still left to discover. ERW contamination impacts not only the provision of mainstream services, like health and education services, to vulnerable conflict-affected populations but also long-term initiatives in rural and economic development. Armed conflict, poor infrastructure and lack of government support have prevented humanitarian assistance to affected populations since the CPA was signed in 2005.
The Darfur conflict, two decades of civil war in the south, the lack of basic infrastructure in large areas, and a reliance by much of the population on subsistence agriculture leaves Sudan with over 40% of the population under the poverty line and its GDP per capita one of the lowest in the world. However, the almost unanimous referendum in 2011 provides salvation for Sudan and formally ends decades of conflict and split the country in half into North and South Sudan. Commitment to removing landmines and UXOs from Sudan is crucial in its future peace negotiations, as well as the homage of hundreds of thousands Sudanese to their former communities and lives.