Preventing Mass Atrocities in Africa: The Case of the Two Sudans

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This chapter argues that preventing mass atrocities in Africa requires addressing the root causes of conflicts. It focuses on the experience of Sudan–South Sudan, which is, in many ways, a microcosm of Africa. The chapter argues that a crisis of identity lies at the heart of conflicts in the two Sudans, reflecting their failure to manage diversity constructively. As in all such conflicts, the root cause is not the mere existence of differences, but the policy implications of those differences. Political, economic, social, and cultural practices have created a dichotomy between “in-groups”, who enjoy the full rights of citizenship, and “out-groups”, who are marginalised and denied, or perceive themselves to be denied, these rights. The chapter argues that peaceful and sustainable conflict resolution in the divided Sudan—as in other countries facing identity conflicts—must seek, therefore, to ensure inclusivity, equality, and human dignity for all, without any discrimination.

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Francis Mading Deng

Francis M. Deng was a nonresident senior fellow in the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement. An expert on conflict management and U.S.-Africa relations, Deng served as the representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Internally Displaced Persons and is currently the South Sudan ambassador to the United Nations.

He was educated at Khartoum University (Bachelor of Laws) and a Master of Laws (LL.M.) and a Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D.) from Yale University. He also took graduate courses at King's College London.

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