The rising profile of the unfolding instability in Sudan has been worrying many Wales-wide over recent weeks, particularly Welsh communities with connections to the East African nation, who are exploring ways to show solidarity and extend hands of help to those affected by the conflict.
Whilst many news headlines focus on the evacuation of international citizens from Khartoum – including the (now closed) UK Foreign Office coordinated airlift – the situation on the ground for Sudanese citizens is becoming increasingly dangerous, creating acute food shortages and a state of ongoing medical emergency. There are widespread calls on the UK government to open up safe passage routes for refugees fleeing the conflict.
A number of international agencies have launched Sudan Appeals that individuals and organisations can donate to, including Red Cross (ICRC), International Rescue Committee, UNICEF and Save the Children. WCIA strongly advise people in Wales to donate money rather than items such as clothing and food, which can be impossible to transport and distribute, particularly in a conflict situation.
Wales’ Sudan Links
- Wales Online – Fear in Cardiff’s Sudanese Community as homeland capital torn by fighting
- BBC Wales – Mum and kids back in Wales after fleeing Khartoum
- South Wales Guardian – Fighting in Khartoum disrupts Aid
- North Wales Pioneer – Crowds seeking rescue swell at Port Sudan
Sudanese communities in Wales have a long heritage over many generations back to the coal trade. It is estimated that around 35,000 people from Sudan live in the UK, and Cardiff is home to many. In the current crisis, many are organising support through the Sudanese Community Association in South Wales, and networks such as the African Community Centre, EYST Wales Ethnic Minorities & Youth Support team, Race Council Cymru and Welsh Refugee Council.
Many of these organisations have been working over recent years to suport development in Sudan through solidarity exchanges such as the 2017 Senedd governance partnership between Welsh and Sudanese parliamentarians. The current conflict risks undoing some of these efforts – but also underlines the importance of showing Welsh solidarity and support in Sudan’s time of greatest need.
Background to the Sudan Conflict
The current destabilization in Sudan is rooted in a long history of political and economic instability, exacerbated by ethnic and religious divisions. The country has been afflicted by civil wars, corruption, and human rights abuses for decades, leading to widespread poverty and deprivation.
After 2019 and the democratic removal of 30 year-long ruler Omar al-Bashir, the transition towards civilian rule was upended by a military coup in 2021. The military alliance was led by army general Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and paramilitary group leader General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo from the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
On 15 April, the situation in Sudan took a turn for the worse when the military ousted the civilian government and declared a state of emergency . This move came after months of tensions between the two sides, with the military accusing the government of failing to address the country’s economic crisis and corruption. The military’s takeover has been met with widespread protests and condemnation from the international community.
“The situation is very difficult for everyone, especially at the moment during the days of Ramadan. Eid celebrations have been cancelled and people can’t buy enough food”.Sudanese father of five Elfadil Hussein, resident of Leckwith, Cardiff for the last 12 years.
“We can’t help them because we can’t send money and we can’t take medication to them. It is proving increasingly difficult for relatives to make contact by phone”Rasha Salaman, Welsh-Sudanese community member from Butetown, Cardiff.
“I’m feeling relieved because my kids are safe now, but I’m worried because I left my family there. It was a very hard choice to make but my kids are my priority.”Honida Ahmed, mother of 5 children who fled Khartoum for sanctuary in Cardfif
“Health-care workers in Sudan have been doing the impossible, caring for the wounded without water, electricity, and basic medical supplies. The logistics needed to bring in supplies amid an active conflict are extremely difficult, and we’re relieved to get this medical material into the country.”Patrick Youssef, Red Cross Regional Director for Africa, on the humanitarian efforts
How Can I Help?
There are several ways in which we, as citizens of Wales and the UK, can help.
Donate: WCIA strongly encourage sending money to organisations on the ground rather than donated items. Donate to humanitarian organizations working in Sudan, such as Red Cross (ICRC), UNICEF, International Rescue Committee and Save the Children, who are providing essential medical care, food, and shelter to those in need.
We can use our voice to raise awareness about the situation in Sudan, and put pressure on our government to take action. We can write to our elected representatives, use social media to share information and call for change – show solidarity with Sudanese people and demand action. This includes asking for safe routes for refugees from Sudan to reach the UK .
- Call for Safe Routes to the UK for refugees
- Sign the Petition for Ceasefire in Sudan
- sign the Safe Passage Petition
Third, we can support peace initiatives in Sudan by calling for an end to violence and a return to civilian-led governance. We can support organizations working to promote peace and reconciliation between different ethnic and religious groups, and advocate for justice and accountability for human rights abuses, such as Peace Direct and the UN’s Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund. As a community, we can encourage our government to support peaceful solutions to the crisis in Sudan, such as mediation efforts led by the African Union and other international organizations.