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27. Sudan  

Human Rights, Development, and Democracy

Liv Tønnessen

This chapter examines human rights, development, and democracy in Sudan. Since gaining independence in 1956, Sudan has been dominated by a northern Muslim ‘ethnocracy’ — a factor that helped precipitate secession of the Christian south in 2011. Long periods of military rule and civil war have spawned a culture of authoritarianism and violence. The chapter first provides an overview of political instability in Sudan before discussing the two civil wars and perpetual conflicts endured by the country throughout its history. It then considers the political economy of human development in Sudan, focusing on the link between underdevelopment and the politics of oil, as well as the failure of democracy to consolidate and the role of civil society in popular uprisings. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the connection between development in the Sudanese context and the need for improving human rights.