In 2005 the Government of Sudan and the Sudan people's Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ending a civil war that had raged between north and south since 1983. Two million southern Sudanese died and four million were displaced in a war that was marked by ground and air attacks on civilian targets by government troops and allied militia, abductions into slavery of members of the African Dinka tribe, the use of mass rape as a weapon of war, ethnic cleansing and the denial of access to international humanitarian agencies and NGOs.
Similar tactics are currently being used to devastating effect on non-Arab tribes in the western province Darfur, where marginalised peoples began an uprising in 2003. So far an estimated 400,000 people have died, and more than 2.5 million have been displaced. Despite regular verbal denunciations, the international community has yet to take effective action to end the culture of impunity that is now endemic there.
As well as creating separate northern southern entities, the CPA also created a government of national unity. However, the north continues to obstruct and delay the time table for implementation of key provisions of the agreement. For example, although the Interim National Constitution recognizes that Sudan is "multi-religious", Islam remains the de-facto state religion in that region. A Commission for the Rights of Non-Muslims in the National Capital, Khartoum, as demanded by the Interim Constitution, has yet to materialise. Churches continue to experience difficulties in obtaining permits to build new facilities, and church-owned property confiscated under previous regimes have not been returned.