Sudanese community in Dubai says UAE has offered sanctuary from violence at home

More than 4,000 attended festival celebrating Sudan's culture described by Minister of Tolerance as an important connection between nations

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, said the festival represented an important human communication between Sudan and the UAE. Wam
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The UAE has been described as a sanctuary by the Sudanese community whose homeland has been engulfed by war.

More than 4,000 people attended a Dubai festival on Sunday to celebrate Sudan's heritage and culture.

The country has been in chaos for more than a year due to the war between Sudan's army and the rival paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

One Sudanese woman told The National that the festival was a welcome opportunity to celebrate all that is good about her home nation.

“The UAE has long been a sanctuary for all people, especially for the Sudanese,” said Sarah Al Ameen, who has lived in the UAE since 1978 and was attending the event with friends.

“Since the crisis began, the UAE has not only provided housing but also a promise of safety and stability. This is something we have witnessed first-hand.”

Last month the UAE pledged $100 million to support humanitarian efforts in Sudan and its neighbouring countries.

The war in Sudan has got to the point where millions of people are on the brink of famine, according to UN officials.

Ms Al Ameen said Sunday's Sudan in the Heart of the UAE Festival at Dubai's World Trade Centre, was an emotional event that meant a great deal to her community.

The event was a poignant reminder of her Sudanese heritage, she added.

Reminder of home

“It was like being in Sudan for a moment,” she said.

“There were traditional folk songs that moved many to tears, [people were wearing] Sudanese costumes and eating Sudanese food.”

Ghada Maamoun, a Sudanese resident in the UAE since 2003, was also effusive in her praise of Sunday's gathering.

“It was such a beautiful event in every aspect,” she said.

“The name of the event itself is a testament to the spirit of the Emirates, which is always keen on spreading goodness and [offering] support.”

She said she felt a deep connection with the UAE and considered it to be a safe haven for her family.

“The UAE has been our home where we have lived safe and secure for many years,” she said.

The mother of four said she had not returned to her home country since 2018 when she attended her father’s funeral.

“I pray to Allah that peace prevails over Sudan,” she said.

“The day the war ends, my children and I will book tickets to visit our homeland.”

UAE support for Sudan

The total amount of UAE relief aid, including food and medical supplies, for those affected by the Sudan conflict has reached $150 million, state news agency Wam reported last month.

The UAE also established its second hospital to support Sudanese refugee, in Abéché city, in the Republic of Chad, at a cost of $20 million.

Fighting broke out last April in Sudan between the Sudanese armed forces, which are led by Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, and the RSF, led by Gen Mohamed Dagalo.

The UN estimates that between 10,000 and 15,000 people have been killed in the conflict, with close to eight million displaced.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, described the festival as an important human communication between Sudan and the UAE, reported Wam.

“The strong relationship between the UAE and Sudan is, in essence, a deep-rooted and renewed relationship, a relationship based on the ideal values and common principles that we are proud of,” said Sheikh Nahyan.

“[These include] the values of love for the homeland, pride in the Arab and Islamic nation, as well as the values of mutual respect and the continuous and relentless pursuit of goodness, peace and security for both countries.”

Updated: May 07, 2024, 2:37 PM