Giving Voice to the Voiceless

Thirty years after Sudan gained independence from Britain in 1956, Islamic extremists based in Khartoum seized control of the democratically elected government, launching a holy war against their own Christian citizens in the south. This war led to the deaths of 1.9 million people and the displacement of 5 million more. The reign of terror reached far beyond the Christian community, to every person, animist and Muslim alike. Anyone who was suspected of failing to adhere to the government’s arbitrary code of conduct faced imprisonment, torture, and even crucifixion.

The civil war between the North and the South officially ended with the signing of the 2005 peace agreement, yet at the same time, a bitter war between the government and rebel factions in Sudan’s westernmost province, Darfur, was being fought. In 2011, the Republic of South Sudan became an independent country.

When writing this lesson plan in 2000, Freedom House, an organization based in Washington, D.C., described the dire state of repression in Sudan, so perilous for human rights that it was the only place in the world where we were asked not to reveal the identity of the defender. In this lesson, students will learn about the human rights conditions in Sudan and how ordinary citizens can make a difference in fighting those abuses. Activities included in this lesson plan center on the International Human Rights Framework and inspire students to become human rights defenders in their own communities.

Anonymous is a Sudanese defender of human rights. Offering a path to a better future, spreading the word of liberty, and committed to change against all odds.

Because all the activities involve independent or group research that can be done online, this lesson plan fits into either virtual or in-person classrooms, with opportunities for discussion and collaboration on Zoom or with classmates.