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The human rights conditions in Sudan have deteriorated rapidly in the last few years and even more so in the last year. After the pro-democracy movement’s ousting of dictator Omar Al-Bashir and his National Congress Party in 2019, Sudan’s military leadership dissolved the transitional government and hostilities broke out between the military, Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), and paramilitary forces, Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in April 2023. The ongoing conflict has been marked by displacement of civilians, extreme ethnic violence and mass killings—resulting in the deaths of over 16,000 civilians and displacement of 7.5 million Sudanese.


The ongoing conflict has exacerbated the already strained education sector which Sudan has faced for decades, due to low funding and state repression. According to UNICEF and OCHA, Sudan is now experiencing one of the worse education crises in the world.  Schools and universities in the country have been prevented from re-opening and approximately 19 million Sudanese children are prevented from returning to school, according to UNICEF.  Higher education across the country has been disrupted as schools and university buildings have been damaged, closed, and repurposed to military bases or shelters for displaced civilians. In Khartoum city alone, 115 universities and 4 major teaching hospitals had been destroyed as of January 2024, according to the Sudanese Minister of Higher Education, Mohamed Hassan Dahab.


Long term consequences of school-aged children out of school include not only the deprives them  of the right to education, but also exposes them to a number of dangers. Children and young adults face displacement, child marriage, sexual violence, and child recruitment. In January 2024, Al Jazirah University in the city of Wad Madani was looted by the RSF, damaging various buildings on campus, including some of the universities’ faculty homes. Residents of the city witnessed the RSF demanding young boys for recruitment in exchange for prevention of further raiding of the town and protection.


In addition to the destruction of university and school infrastructure, archives, libraries, laboratories, and research centers have also been targeted. One particularly devastating incident was the looting and arson of Mohammed Omar Bashir Centre for Sudanese Studies at Omdurman Ahlia University. The archive was located in the University of Khartoum, in honor of scholar Mohammed Omar Bashir, and contained rare collections. Re-collecting the data lost, after the war, will require immense effort as the research and higher education continue to be disrupted.


We, at Endangered Scholars Worldwide (ESW), are deeply concerned with the conflict in Sudan and reports of war crimes, including ethnic cleansing. ESW urges the international community to pay full attention to the ongoing violence in region and demands that all efforts be made to resolve conflicts in the region. ESW joins the Middle East Studies Association in calling on warring parties, the RSF and the SAF, to uphold their obligations under international law to right to access education, including protection of education institutions and ensuring the safety of students, scholars, and educators.


Last updated July 5, 2024


Please send appeals to the following:

General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan

Sudan Armed Forces

Khartoum, Sudan




General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo

The Rapid Support Forces

Khartoum, Sudan




Tom Perriello

U.S Special Envoy for Sudan


Resources and further reading:

More on Sudan

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