After the historic signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreements in 2005, a study showed that 55% of Nuba refugees expressed an intention to return following those political changes owing to conditions in Cairo (Ahmed 2009, 51). In the wake of the deposition of Omar Al Bashir in 2019, and the series of political changes that followed in Sudan, the subject of return has become relevant again. In order to observe the relationship between political change and return, this thesis attempts to look at the Nuba refugee’s perception of return considering recent political changes. UNHCR has commendably carried out surveys on perception and intentions among refugee populations, but these surveys have only been done among Syrians and Iraqis in Egypt. However, there remains a dearth of similar data on Sudanese refugee perceptions and intentions, especially concerning return. This thesis approaches the study of return to Sudan and the refugee’s perception on return from a standpoint that recognizes the uniqueness of Nuba displacement in Sudan. The Sudanese displacement experience cannot be analyzed in a monolithic narrative because it is not characterized by one cause of refugee flows from Sudan. The story varies in every displacement depending on the permutation of religion, race, politics, and socio-economics at work in each context, but also, and quite crucially, depending on the ethnic group. Therefore, this thesis looks at how return is perceived by 14 respondents from Nuba ethnic groups; not to generalize about Sudanese refugees, but rather to trace elements of refugee decision making when considering return migration. For refugees, the decision to stay or return is dependent on a host of issues concerning the refugee’s livelihood, aspirations, and goals in the host country as well as in the country of origin. This research attempts to sketch the Nuba refugees’ perspectives on return; their perceptions, intentions, and desired outcomes towards a now post-Bashir Sudan.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Center for Migration and Refugee Studies

Degree Name

MA in Migration & Refugee Studies

Graduation Date

Spring 5-31-2020

Submission Date


First Advisor

Heck, Gerda

Committee Member 1

Ibrahim, Awad

Committee Member 2

[information not provided]


89 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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