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Africa: Countries in which the Dinka may traditionally be found

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 May 1999
Citation / Document Symbol ZZZ31783.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Africa: Countries in which the Dinka may traditionally be found, 1 May 1999, ZZZ31783.E, available at: [accessed 29 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


Sources consulted indicate that the Dinka may traditionally be found in the southern region of Sudan.  According to an article in the Encyclopaedia Britannica the Dinka, also called the Jieng people ... "live in the savanna country surrounding the central swamps of the Nile basin in the south of The Sudan. ... The Dinka are primarily transhumant pastoralists, moving their herds of cattle to riverine pastures during the dry season and back to permanent settlements in savanna forest during the rains when their food crops ... are grown"  (1989, 103).   A History of the Sudan describes the Dinka as "a group of tribes, some of which dwell on the eastern bank of the White Nile, others, the majority, in the grassy flood-plains of the Bahr al-Ghazal, where they herd their cattle" (1988, 3).

Since the 1980s the Dinka have often been displaced within Sudan, "fleeing for security outside the war zone in the South to the hostile but more secure environment of the North, or infiltrating the neighboring countries to the south as refugees."  (Human Rights in Africa:  Cross-Cultural Perspective 1990, 262).   According to the same source the Dinka "are by far the largest ethnic group in the Sudan"  (ibid., 263).

For more precise information on the specific areas of southern Sudan traditionally inhabited by the Dinkas please consult the Ethnologue attachment and maps.

No mention of whether the Dinka have traditionally inhabited other surrounding countries could be found among the available sources within time constraints.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.  Please find below a list of additional sources consulted.


A History of the Sudan:  From the Coming of Islam to the Present Day. 1988.  4th edition. P.M. Holt and M. W. Daly.  New York:  LongmanGroup.

Human Rights in Africa:  Cross-Cultural Perspectives. 1990.  Edited by Abdullahi Ahmed and Francis M. Deng.  Washington, D.C.:  The Brookings Institution.

The New Encyclopaedia Britannica.  1989.  15th ed. Vol. 4.  Edited by Philip W. Goetz.  Chicago:  Encyclopaedia Britannica.


Ethnologue [Internet]:    [Accessed 6 May 1999]

Ethnologue:  Languages of the World.  1996. 13th edition.  Edited by Barbara F. Grimes.  Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics.

Michelin World Travel Map.  Paris.  "Africa North East".  1991.

Additional Sources Consulted

Unsuccessful attempts at contacting three oral sources.

Encyclopaedia of the Third World. 1992.

L'état du monde édition 1989-90.

The Europa World Year Book 1998.

World Directory of Minorities.  1997.

     Resource Centre:  Country files on Sudan.

Electronic sources:  IRB Databases, REFWORLD.

Internet:  International Organization for Migration (IOM), Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Africa Policy Information Centre, Library of Congress Country Studies.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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