Sudan is Africa's largest country and is located in the northeast of the continent. Since gaining independence in 1956 it has been ravaged by drought, famine and war. There has been a regular turnover of governments, mostly military controlled and frequent disputes between non-Muslim, black African Sudanese and Muslim Arab Sudanese over access to power and resources.
Between 1997 and 2007 more than 20,000 settlers born in Sudan immigrated to Australia. During this period there were also approximately 2200 ethnic Sudanese, born to Sudanese parents in refugee camps in Egypt or Kenya, who also immigrated to Australia.
Since 2001 the majority of Sudanese migrants have come to Australia through the Humanitarian Program, with more than ninety-eight per cent of Sudan-born arrivals entering Australia as part of this programme. These settlers can be further broken down into Refugee and Special Humanitarian Program (SHP) components. Refugee entrants are granted visas solely on humanitarian criteria, and may not have any family or friends in Australia, while SHP entrants are proposed by an Australian citizen, permanent resident or an organisation based in Australia. From 2001 to 2007 seventy-four per cent of all Sudanese humanitarian entrants to Australia have come as SHP entrants. Sudanese migrants who have arrived between 2001 and 2006 have generally settled in Victoria (34%), New South Wales (24%) or Queensland (14%)
Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2007). Sudanese Community Profile. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. Available online at http://www.immi.gov.au/living-in-australia/delivering-assistance/government-programs/settlement-planning/_pdf/community-profile-sudan.pdf.