english | עברית | | العربية

View a short film in which Singida, a 22-year-old asylum seeker from Darfur and staff-member of The Refugee Voice, tells his story of how he escaped the genocide in Darfur and made his way to Israel.
· Director-Shir Newman   · Research-Maya Paley  · Co-Producers-Shir Newman and Maya Paley
Video length is 10 minutes. In Hebrew with subtitles.

South Sudan:
Sudan declared independence from Britain in January 1956. However, a civil war between the government and Khartoum erupted prior to independence and lasted until 1972. During this war, half a million people died. The South was subsequently granted regional autonomy, but upon discovering oil, the Khartoum government ignored the autonomy of South Sudan and instituted Sharia (Islamic) law in the region. This prompted the South Sudanese leadership to create the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA), led by John Garang.
From 1983-2005, another civil war took place between Khartoum and South Sudan, which resulted in the death of 1.9 million Sudanese from South and central Sudan as well as the internal displacement of 4 million people. Half a million people fled the country as refugees. In 2005, Khartoum and SPLA agreed on the Naivasha Protocols, which allowed South Sudan to form a regional government. The Protocols were supposed to lead to the disarmament of the para-military militias, but this never occurred. A decision was reached that in January 2011 a referendum would be held that allowed the South Sudanese people to vote on whether or not they wanted independence. The vote was held and an unmistakable majority of those who voted (98.83%) were in favor of independence, which was realized on July 9th, 2011. While the South Sudanese throughout the world are excited about their newfound independence, they still fear that instability will erupt over contested regions and many refugees are not quite ready to return to their home country.
Over the years of displacement, many South Sudanese refugees ended up in Egypt, and, eventually, some sought protection in Israel.

Darfur:
Darfur, the western-most region of Sudan was almost completely neglected by the Sudanese government in Khartoum until oil was found in the southern part of the region in 1979. A policy of racial preference toward the Arab population was enacted for many years and racial and ethnic tensions in Darfur intensified due to increased desertification of the area and competition over access to resources as well as the impact of the Chadian- Libyan war on Darfur during the 1980s. 14 These tensions led to a civil war from 1987- 1989.
In 2001, the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and its armed section the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) were founded as a secessionist movement. The Janjaweed (Arab militias) became Khartoum’s Special Forces in 2003, and began utilizing air force bombs causing massive displacement and slaughter in Darfur - the internationally known genocide began.
Also in 2003, Dr. Khalil Ibrahim formed the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), which called for national reform and a regime change and played a role in opposing the Janjaweed, especially across the border with Chad.
While numbers have been disputed throughout the years, the United Nations estimates that almost 2 million Darfuris have been internally displaced in Darfur, about 240,000 have been displaced to other regions of Sudan, and almost 420,000 have become refugees in other countries.
Approximately 62,000 people have died as a result of violence, and up to 300,000 have died from hunger and disease from 2003-2008. Violence was the main cause of death in 2004, but famine and disease were the leading causes of death since then, although violent deaths do continue to occur in the region.
Several thousand Darfuris have sought protection in Israel since 2005.

Eritrea:
Eritrea, with a population of 5.5 million, gained independence from Ethiopia in 1991. It is controlled by the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice, the only political party permitted to exist in Eritrea. The President, Isaias Afwerki, rules the country through a totalitarian military regime and is known for committing gross human rights violations. The Eritrean government has instilled mandatory military service for all Eritrean men between the ages of 18 and 54 and women between the ages of 18 and 47, which includes civilian work programs as well. The length of one’s military service is arbitrary and indefinite, and service members may be sent to any location or to any type of position deemed suitable by the government, and they are paid extremely low wages, if at all. The government has been known to execute people fleeing military service at the Djibouti border as well as to imprison and torture others who try to flee military service or who are deported when seeking asylum from other countries.
Freedoms of speech, press, association, and religion do not exist in Eritrea, as the government is functioning without a constitution and failing to hold elections that have been scheduled twice since 2003.
Hundreds of Eritreans have been imprisoned and tortured extensively for their political views or activities. Eritreans have been fleeing their country since the struggle for Eritrean independence began in the 1960s. Therefore, there are Eritrean refugees throughout Europe and the United States.
According to the UNHCR Statistical Yearbook, 99% of Eritrean asylum seekers in Canada, 66% in the United Kingdom, and 97% in the United States were recognized as refugees in 2009.
There are currently around 18,000 Eritreans living in Israel.


This information is cited and/or quoted from the report
"Surviving in Limbo: Lived Experiences among Sudanese and Eritrean Asylum Seekers in Israel"
by Maya Paley, ASSAF, June 2011.


 

 
 
 
 



  • Follow us
 
 © The Refugee Voice 2011
meet the staff read the newspaper wactch The Refugee Voice