Report on trip to sudan 2002

Report on the Situation of IDPs and Refugees in Northern Sudan:
Findings of an exploratory study
6 September 2002 – 19 September 2002
Gina Bekker
Forced Migration and Refugee Studies Programme, Table of contents
1. Introduction
2. Promotion of the FMRS Programme and Related Issues
2.1 Diploma in Forced Migration and Refugee Studies
4
Diploma 4
2.1.2 Potential Funding for Sudanese Students by UNDP in Sudan 4
2.2 Potential collaboration and resources that can be tapped into on issues related to forced
migration and refugee studies in Sudan
2.2.1 The Disaster Management and Refugees Studies Institute (DIMARSI) 4
5
6
2.2.4 The Sudanese Organisation for Human Rights and Legal Aid 7
Refugees
3.1
Background
9
3.2 Sudan’s international obligations in terms of refugees
10
3.3 Sudan’s domestic law in terms of refugees
10
3.4
Statistical
information
10
3.5 Organisations providing assistance to refugees in Sudan
11
3.6 Refugee Status Determination in Sudan
13
3.7
Lack
of
an
appeals
procedure
14
3.8 Refugee law and the legal profession
14
3.8.1 Lack of training in the field of refugee law 14
3.8.2 Lack of legal aid for refugees in Sudan 16
3.8.3 Absence of cases dealing with refugee issues before Sudanese courts 16
3.9
Refugee
rights
17
17
association 17
18
property 18
18
18
19
3.9.8 Labour legislation and social security 19
19
3.10
Security situation of refugees in Sudan
20
3.11
Respect for the principle of non-refoulement
20
3.12
Position of persons not recognised as refugees
20
3.12
Particular problems facing Arab asylum seekers in Sudan
20
3.13
Repatriation
of
refugees
in
Sudan
21
situation
4.1
Background
24
4.2 Employment, food security and access to water
24
4.3 Access to health care and education
25
4.4
Security
situation
of
IDPs 26
4.5 Perceptions of IDPs coming to Egypt
27
4.6 Return
of
IDP
communities
28
6. Conclusion
interviewed
Regulation
Annex 3: Constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Sudan (excerpt)
Annex 4: The Sudanese Nationality Act 1957
Annex 5 Dr Curtis Francis Doebbler v Sudan, Communication No. 235/2000,
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Annex 6: Profiles of international NGOs providing humanitarian
assistance
1. Introduction

From 6 September 2002 – 19 September 2002, I undertook a trip to Sudan in order to
promote the work of the Forced Migration and Refugee Studies Programme, to expand
existing contacts of persons working in the field of forced migration and refugee studies in
Sudan, to examine the situation of asylum seekers and refugees in the country as well as
IDPs and also to examine patterns of migration from Sudan. Soon after my arrival, however, I
realised that I had set perhaps an overly ambitious work plan for the short period of time that
I was in Sudan. Due to the fact that my trip was of a limited duration, I was not able to travel
to any of the refugee camps, as I had initially hoped to. The nearest camps were inaccessible
because of the rain, and had I visited the camps in the east that were accessible, this alone
would have consumed almost half of my time in Sudan. I was also not able to meet with
officials from the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), the organisation with prime
responsibility for relief at a federal level, as my trip coincided with two events – an outbreak
of fighting in the South and a high level internal conference on IDPs, lasting several days.
In order to achieve my planned objectives, I met with academics, government officials as
well as representatives of IGOs and NGOs working in Sudan. I visited a repatriation
registration as well as a repatriation screening center. I also visited an IDP camp in the
Khartoum area, where I spoke to a group of between 50-60 displaced women ranging in age
from about 17 to 70. Finally I undertook the arduous four day journey by train from
Khartoum to Wadi Halfa and the boat from Wadi Halfa to Aswan - the route taken by the vast
majority of asylum seekers from Sudan to Egypt. In the course of my journey, I spoke
informally to a number of mostly young men from Southern Sudan as well as Darfur who
were coming to Egypt in search of safety and new a life.
1 In this regard I tried to focus on obtaining information that would be useful for the upcoming refugee law judges seminar. 2 See Annex 1 for a list of persons interviewed. 3 It should be noted that in order to travel to any IDP camp in Sudan, official governmental permission is necessary. I chose to go through the Sudan Council of Churches as opposed to the government as I hoped to obtain more reliable information on the situation of IDPs. I had been informed by several people that the government was likely to take me to Jebel Aulia (one of their "model" camps). 2. Promotion of the FMRS Programme and Related Issues

2.1 Diploma in Forced Migration and Refugee Studies
2.1.1 Interest in the Diploma
There was tremendous interest expressed in the Diploma in Forced Migration and Refugee
Studies, particularly from academics, the Commission for Refugees, the representative of the
High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Sudan, UNDP and UNHCR, all of whom were
keen to have persons from their respective institutions enroll in the course. Their biggest
concern however, was in relation to funding of students. To this end, I distributed African
Graduate Fellowship application forms for which Sudanese students would be eligible. I also
informed them to check on AUC’s website for other potential funding for postgraduate
students.
2.1.2 Potential Funding for Sudanese Students by UNDP in Sudan
Marv Koop, the Chief Technical Advisor – IDPs at UNDP mentioned that UNDP might
consider funding scholarships for Sudanese to enroll in the Diploma. He stressed that at this
point in time in Sudan, there was a desperate need to build capacity in the field of forced
migration and refugee studies. This was all the more pressing given the possibility of peace
being established and subsequent large scale return of IDPs to the South.
2.2 Potential collaboration and resources that can be tapped into on issues related to forced
migration and refugee studies in Sudan

2.2.1 The Disaster Management and Refugees Studies Institute (DIMARSI)
In October 1993 the International University of Africa in collaboration with a number of
national NGOs established DIMARSI. DIMARSI is registered as an independent NGO
involved in training persons working for NGOs, IGOs and government in the field of disaster
management. To this end, the institute offers short courses and workshops on issues related to
disaster management as well as a one year diploma and a two-year master’s course All of
these courses are offered in Arabic.
Short courses, lasting 2-6 weeks on the following topics have been held: disaster
management, management of relief operations, participatory rapid assessment, project design
and writing and environmental impact assessment. Workshops held in the past have included:
disaster preparedness, the effects of disaster on the economy, vulnerability of women and
children to disaster and gender and development. Main courses offered for the Diploma and
Masters degree include: natural and man-made disasters, disaster management, voluntary
works, environment and development, food security and relief, refugee studies, displacement
studies and research methodology. Additionally the following supporting courses are also
offered: first aid, home nursing, communication skills, time management and international
law for the protection of natural resources. Students enrolled in the Diploma and Masters
Programmes engage in voluntary work in refugee and IDP camps and are also required to
write a dissertation in partial fulfillment of the academic requirements for the respective
courses. Copies of these theses many of which deal directly with issues related to IDPs and
4 The only difference between the Masters and Diploma Programmes is the size of the dissertation and time allotted for completion thereof. refugees in the Sudan can be obtained from DIMARSI. It should however be noted that the
vast majority of them have been written in Arabic.
Awad Khalifa Musa, the Director of the Disaster Management and Refugees Studies Institute
(DIMARSI), expressed an interest in forging formal links with the FMRS Programme. The
Institute already has links with inter alia, the Disaster Management Center, Wisconsin State
University and the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University.
2.2.2 The Commission for Refugees (COR)
COR is a governmental unit within the Sudanese Ministry of Interior, which is charged with
responsibility for refugees within Sudan’s political boundaries. To this end it implements
Sudan’s obligations and commitments as enshrined in the various instruments to which Sudan
is a State Party. It implements state policy towards refugees and assists the Sudanese
government in an advisory capacity in defining and formulating these policies. It also
engages in fundraising for the various refugee programmes in Sudan. Finally it acts as a focal
point of co-ordination between government agencies at inter-ministerial, inter-departmental
and inter-regional levels in all matters related to refugees.
One of the units within COR is the Documentation Research and Statistics Department. Its
mandate includes the collection, classification and organisation of information on refugees in
Sudan and the collection, analysis and compilation of statistical data on refugees. The
documentation center, although highly under-resourced, contains a valuable collection of
materials relating to refugees in Sudan, particularly from an historical perspective. Staff at the
center were interested in making contact with persons responsible for the FMRS Library
collection in order to exchange information. The possibility of sending someone from Egypt
to Sudan to scan the literature held by the documentation center in order to make it available
on the internet was discussed with the Deputy Commissioner for Refugees, Ahmed Mohamed
Hussein. This suggestion was extremely well-received. The Deputy Commissioner however
noted that formalities should be followed and that such a request should be put in writing and
directed to the Commissioner at the Commission for Refugees.

2.2.3 University of Khartoum
There are presently no organised activities centering on forced migration and refugee studies
at the University of Khartoum. In the 1980’s there used to be a weekly seminar series
focussing on forced migration run by Salah Shazili, who left Sudan due to problems with
security and is presently in Cairo.
Great interest expressed by anthropologists at the University of Khartoum in relation to
possible collaborative research efforts particularly in relation to Sudanese asylum seekers and
refugees living in Egypt. In this regard Professor Paul Wani stated that there were a number
of MA and Phd students enrolled at Khartoum University who were interested in spending
time doing fieldwork in Cairo. I mentioned that these students would be able to attach
themselves to the FMRS Programme as Visiting Research Fellows. He pointed out that one
of the major problems experienced by these students was to obtain funding for their research
projects. Nevertheless, if funding could be obtained, it was agreed that having the students
attach themselves to the FMRS Programme would be fruitful.
5 He can be contacted via e-mail at [email protected] or at [email protected] It was pointed out to me by various faculty members in the Department of Anthropology and
Sociology at the University of Khartoum that a number of theses by MA and Phd students
had been written particularly in relation to IDPs. Copies of these theses are held at both the
School of Graduate Studies as well as at the University of Khartoum. I was told that it would
be possible to obtain a full list of them from the University. These theses have been written in
both English as well as in Arabic.
The research interest of the various faculty I spoke to was quite diverse and covered: the role
of religion for refugee and IDP communities (perception of self and the other), refugees in
rural areas, in particular in the East of Sudan as well as IDPs in West Kordufan.
2.2.4 Sudanese Organization for Human Rights and Legal Aid
The Sudanese Organization for Human Rights and Legal Aid is an officially registered NGO,
which was established in November 2001. It obtains funding from donations as well as
subscriptions from members. In the past the organisation has conducted studies on labour
issues, engaged in lobbying around the need for the Sudanese government to ratify CEDAW
and has also participated in a number of workshops on human rights.
The organisation’s present projects focus on gender issues and equality, socio-economic
rights and children’s rights. They are also in the process of setting up a new project on peace
and development. In terms of the legal aid component, more than 100 advocates who are
members of the organisation provide their services free of charge. The legal assistance they
provide focuses exclusively on defending the rights of persons accused of serious crimes,
particularly where the death penalty is sought to be imposed. Eltahir Hamdallah, the president
of the Board of Trustees of the organisation pointed out that the organisation operates on the
basis of non-discrimination on the basis of inter alia nationality and if there were instances
where refugees were detained and accused of a serious crime, that they would also provide
assistance to them.
6 It was pointed out to me by various faculty members that Dr Fatma Elrasheed, has in the past and is also presently doing research on IDPs, however, in spite of trying to set up a meeting with her, I was not able to do so. 7 Dr Idris Salim El Hassan, Associate Professor, Faculty of Technological and Development Studies, University of Khartoum. 8 Dr. Hassan M Salah, Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of Khartoum. 9 Dr Paul Wani, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology, University of Khartoum. I was informed that other than the legal aid provided through the organisation, and a handful of advocates who provide free legal assistance on their own, the only other provision for free legal aid is that offered by the Sudanese Ministry of Justice for indigent individuals accused of the most serious offences. Eltahir Hamdallah and Amir Abdallah, the Executive Director noted that refugee law was an area that the members of the organisation had little experience with, but that it was an area that they were keen to explore. The possibility of the organisation providing legal assistance to asylum seekers in terms of the refugee status determination process was briefly discussed. Both Eltahir Hamdallah and Amir Abdallah, were interested in this, however they noted that at present they had limited funds. If funds could be acquired and training provided in the area of refugee law, they noted that the organisation would be interested in providing such assistance. In this regard, particular interest was expressed in making contact with the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights Legal Aid for Refugees Project as well as other organisations providing similar services in order to learn more about their experiences. In this regard I mentioned the annual July course on refugee law as well as the African Refugee Legal Aid Protection Network, both of which were of extreme interest to the organisation. 3. Refugees in Sudan10
3.1 Background
Sudan has a long tradition of receiving refugees from neighbouring countries. In the past 30
years it has witnessed huge influxes of refugees fleeing from civil wars, ethnic conflicts
droughts and famines. Furthermore, it has also received large numbers of individuals fleeing
persecution in their countries of origin. In 1967 the Commission for Refugees (COR) was
established in order to deal with the refugee problem in the Sudan. The following year
UNHCR opened up a branch office in Sudan and has acted as a counterpart to COR in
matters related to refugees in Sudan.
The refugee population in Sudan can be broadly categorised into those settled in organised
camps and those who have spontaneously settled outside of the camps. It is important to note
in this regard, that the latter group does not receive any assistance in the form of food aid,
shelter and so on. Mubarak Talha, the Head of Protection at COR stated that when refugee
populations arrived in Sudan an attempt was made to settle them in settlements appropriate to
their background. To this end three types of settlements were created namely agricultural
settlements, semi-urban settlements and wage-earning settlements.
3.2 Sudan’s international law obligations in terms of refugees
The government of Sudan is a State Party to the 1951 Refugee Convention as well as the
1967 Protocol. It should be noted that upon ratification, the Sudanese government entered a
reservation to article 26 of the 1951 Convention dealing with freedom of movement. Sudan
has also ratified the 1969 OAU Convention.
3.3 Sudanese domestic law applicable to refugees
Domestically, asylum is regulated by the Regulation of Asylum Act 1974. This piece of
legislation incorporates the definitions of both the 1951 as well 1969 OAU Conventions and
also sets out the procedures for the granting of asylum in the Sudan. It should also be noted
that article 44 of the Sudanese Constitution 1973, provides for the non-extradition of political
refugees, except as prescribed by law. Finally, the Sudanese Nationality Act of 1957 is also
of relevance in so far as it sets out the conditions for acquisition of Sudanese nationality.

3.4 Statistical information on numbers of refugees
Sudan presently hosts refugees from Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia,
Eritrea, Somalia and Uganda. Several thousand Chadian refugees are said to be located in
various areas of Central Sudan. Although the government does not favour local integration,
the majority of these refugees have settled within local communities and are for the most part
self-sufficient. The vast majority of Congolese who entered Sudan in the 1960’s have
10 The following information has been garnered from interviews with officials at UNHCR as well as at COR. Where the facts are undisputed, I do not generally quote a particular source, however, where there is some dispute, or if the issue is of a particularly controversial nature, I mention the official who gave me the information. 11 This is discussed in greater detail at 3.9.1 below. 12 See Annex 2. 13 See Annex 3. 14 See Annex 4. In this regard it is worth noting, that the government of Sudan does not favour local integration and the acquisition of Sudanese nationality. Instead, as discussed in greater detail below, it favours the voluntary repatriation of refugees. returned back to the DRC in a series of repatriation projects. Those remaining behind are
located primarily in Southern Sudan, and include those who arrived in the late 90’s (mainly
women and children) to escape fighting in the DRC. COR and UNHCR has limited access to
these individuals. The bulk of the refugee population in Sudan is composed of Eritrean
refugees who for the most part live in Khartoum as well as in the East of the country. The
vast majority of pre-1991 Ethiopian refugees have been repatriated, with fewer than 300
having been "screened in". To this number, several thousand refugees who fled Ethiopia post
1991 are also to be added. Ethiopians also reside primarily in the East of the country as well
as in Khartoum. Very small numbers of Somali refugees are also said to living in Khartoum
and Fau 5 settlement. Finally, Sudan also hosts a few thousand Ugandans who arrived in the
1970s many of whom are residing in insecure areas in the South and the remainder, who live
in Khartoum. UNHCR is continuing to assist those Ugandans (the so-called residual case
load) wishing to repatriate, but given the insecurity in the northern parts of Uganda,
Mamadou Balde, Associate Protection Officer at UNHCR said that it was not pushing too
hard on the issue of repatriation of this group.
UNHCR maintained that it was not able to provide me exact figures in relation to the
numbers of refugees in Sudan as this information was internal. However, Mamadou Balde,
the Associate Protection Officer at UNHCR stated that there were approximately 300 000
refugees in Sudan, most of whom were Eritreans. He said that there were 90 000 refugees
living in camps and for planning purposes they estimated that there were 218 000 refugees
living in urban areas. He maintained that the government of Sudan claimed that there were up
to 1 million refugees living in Sudan. In relation to refugees in camps, Ahmed Mohamed
Hussein, the Deputy Commissioner for Refugees stated that there were approximately 200
000 refugees living in camps, but that it was difficult to provide accurate information, given
repatriation programmes. No one at COR was able to provide me with exact statistical data as
to number of refugees living outside of camps. In spite of having requested an up to date
breakdown of refugee numbers (which apparently does exist) and in spite of having been
promised this information both while in Sudan as well as on return to Cairo, I was unable
obtain this information.
3.5 Organisations Providing Assistance to Refugees in Sudan
The following table contains information on NGOs (national and international) who are
UNHCR partner institutions, involved in the provision of assistance to refugees in Sudan:

Contact details
Type of assistance provided
Executive Director: Ramadan Health care and nutrition Mohammed Paul Shoal West of El Salam Street Khartoum NB: no telephone or fax number available Kamal Hasim Osman Block 23, House No. 5, Khartoum Tel: + 249 11 220771/221090/227469 Fax: + 249 11 227662 E-mail: Mohamed Arabi 53 Amarat Street, Khartoum Tel: + 249 11 472876 Fax: + 249 11 472877 Mohmed Sulaiman South East of El Usara Club, Khartoum (3) Tel: + 249 11 472775/472773 Fax: 471175 33 Amarat Street, within ACORD’s premises Tel: + 249 11 471135 Fax: + 249 11 471150 Rasheeda Abd el Mutalib West of Faroug Cemetery, Khartoum (2) Tel: + 249 11 471059 Fax: + 249 11 471059 Osman Mahmoud Junction of Gumhoriya & Mek Nimir Avenues, Khartoum East Tel: + 249 11 772011/784889 Fax: + 249 11 772877 E-mail: Mamadou Balde, Associate Protection Officer at UNHCR stated that UNHCR and the World Food Programme were involved in the provision of food aid in 19 settlements (all of them in the Eastern part of Sudan), and also that it co-operated with UNDP and UNESCO-PEER in relation to refugees. Other organisations providing assistance to refugees: Contact details
Type of assistance provided
NB: Note no telephone or fax assisting in sponsoring number available Mazengia 37 Amarat Street, Khartoum Tel: + 249 11 4725586 19 Amarat Street P.O. Box 3134, Khartoum Tel: + 249 11 471234 Obeid Khartoum (2) NB: Note no telephone or fax number are available 3.6 Refugee Status Determination in Sudan
Refugee status determination in Sudan is regulated by the Regulation of Asylum Act 1974. The vast majority of refugees in the Sudan however, have not been recognised in terms of this Act, but rather were recognised as a group and given prima facie status owing to the fact that large influxes made it impossible to do individual status determination. The trend presently, in the absence of mass influx, is towards an individualised status determination process. In terms of the Asylum Act, it is the Minister of Interior who grants asylum and who can delegate his power (in practice this authority has been delegated to COR officers). In theory as it was explained to me by COR officials, an asylum seeker could declare their intention to apply for refugee status to the immigration official at the border who would then screen the application and if in the opinion of the immigration officer the person meets the criteria as set out in the Asylum Act, refer the said person to COR. In practice most asylum seekers once in the country either approach COR directly or approach UNHCR who then refers them to COR. Mamadou Balde, Associate Protection Officer at UNHCR stated that while UNHCR was not directly involved in the status determination procedure, it did sometimes sit in as an observer on COR interviews and that in future it would like to engage in more of this type of monitoring, as it is concerned with the need for COR to improve the quality and consistency of their work. Mubarak Talha, the Head of Protection at COR explained that the interview at COR is
conducted by an assistant protection officer, who in making a final decision seeks the advise
of the protection officer. In complicated cases, the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner
could be requested to make a final decision. In extremely complicated matters, a memo could
be sent to the Minister of Interior requesting a final decision. If an application is approved,
the applicant is then issued with a refugee ID card, renewable every two years.
3.7 Lack of an appeals procedure
One of the major deficiencies of the present system is the lack of an independent appeals
body to review decisions made by COR. If an application for refugee status is rejected,
COR refers the person to UNHCR by means of a letter requesting that UNHCR assist them.
Thus, in effect UNHCR acts as an appeals body. While UNHCR is considering such an
application, COR grants the applicant a temporary resident’s permit for a period of three
months, during which time, UNHCR attempts to find a third country willing to take the
individual if it believes that the person is of concern to UNHCR.
3.8 Refugee law and the legal profession
3.8.1 Lack of training in the field of refugee law
At present the only course focused specifically on refugee law is the DIMARSI course
offered by Dr Mohamed El Berberi, a former Commissioner for Refugees. Professor
Akolda Tier, the Dean of the Law Faculty Khartoum University, noted that refugee law was
taught as an aspect of international human rights law as part of the course on public
international law. He pointed out that the reason only one thesis in the law faculty had
focused on refugee issues, was because of the lack of focus on refugee law and issues related
thereto within the faculty. He stated that plans were underway to start up a post-graduate
diploma in human rights law, where one of the topics would include refugee law. This
diploma programme has already been passed by the faculty and has been approved by the
Postgraduate College. It is now awaiting approval by the University Senate. The proposed
diploma will be offered in English.
I was also informed by people I spoke to in the legal profession of the existence of a Law
Reform and Training Institute, which is responsible for training of members of the judiciary
in Sudan. However, attendance at this institution is not compulsory and does not include a
refugee law component. A number of people I spoke to bemoaned the state of this particular
institution. It was pointed out to me by the Dean of the Law Faculty of Khartoum University,
Akolda Tier, that the Institute was not particularly well respected and more often than not it
simply duplicated the courses already being offered in the law faculties at various
universities. He noted that when members of the judiciary require training in particular areas,
the practice is now to either have them enroll in courses at Khartoum University or
alternatively to bring lecturers in from universities to teach specific courses to members of
the judiciary, thus, in effect bypassing the Law Reform and Training Institute. The advice of
15 It was pointed out to me by Mubarak Talha, the Head of Protection at COR, that potentially if rejected, an
applicant could approach the Minister of Interior, who might accept their claim for refugee status and recognise
them.
16 He can be contacted at: [email protected] or at home: +249 11 474905.
17 The focus of this thesis is on the Sudanese Regulation of Asylum Act 1974. Professor Akolda Tier pointed out
to me that this student was a police officer and as such had access to a range of government materials that would
not have been accessible to the general public.
18 In passing Professor Tier also mentioned that they were in the process of setting up a human rights
center/institute at the law faculty.
both Professor Tier as well as Dr Ahmed El Mufti, the Director General the Khartoum International Center for Human Rights and former head of the Sudanese Governmental Advisory Council on Human Rights in relation to addressing an invitation to those responsible for training, for purposes of the refugee law judges seminar, would be to direct such an invitation to the Office of the Chief Justice, who would then have the discretion to pass on the invitation to the person he deems appropriate. It should also be pointed out that while I was in Sudan, the Director of the Institute, who I had hoped to meet with, handed in his resignation (to date, no person has been appointed in his place) and it appears as if the Institute is in a state of disarray. The following are contacts for the Office of the Chief Justice: Name of Organisation/Person
Contact Details
Office of the Chief Justice
Tel: + 249 11 777882/772327 Fax + 249 11 780789 3.8.2 Lack of legal aid for refugees in Sudan
In general legal aid for indigent persons in Sudan is limited, with some advocates providing
pro bono legal advice either as part of the Sudanese Organisation for Human Rights or on
their own. No one focuses specifically on providing legal assistance to asylum seekers and
refugees, although as noted above, the Sudanese Organisation for Human Rights and Legal
Aid, is interested in potentially expanding their mandate to provide legal assistance to asylum
seekers and refugees in Sudan.
3.8.3 Absence of cases dealing with refugee issues before Sudanese courts
The judiciary has thus far not dealt with issues pertaining to refugee law. No one has ever
approached the courts to appeal a finding made by COR (an administrative decision, which
could technically be challenged before the courts). This can presumably be attributed in part
to the lack of awareness and training on issues related to refugees. It was pointed out to me
by Dr Ahmed El Mufti of the Khartoum International Center for Human Rights that in there
was talk of a group of Ethiopian refugees challenging the application of the cessation clause,
before Sudanese courts but that this had came to naught. Mamadou Balde, Associate
Protection Officer at UNHCR pointed out that the application of the cessation clause to the
Ethiopians had been challenged before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’
Rights, however he was not able to provide me with anymore detail. Upon return to Egypt, I
delved into the matter and found that in spite of the case having been brought before the
Commission in the year 2000, no decision had been rendered to date.
When I raised the possibility of cases related to refugees being brought to Sudanese courts
with officials at both COR as well as UNHCR, there was a great deal of interest in this and
the potential thereof for the furtherance of refugee rights. On a cautionary note however,
Professor Akolda Tier, the Dean of the Law Faculty of Khartoum University pointed out that
people had very little faith in the courts in Sudan. In relation to whether or not the courts
were being used to challenge human rights abuses, it was made clear to me that the chances
19 See Annex 5 for a copy of Communication No. 235/2000 brought before the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights challenging the decision to apply the cessation clause to Ethiopians in Sudan. of a finding of a violation when the government was one of the parties was highly remote.
However, one such exceptional case was the recent finding by the Constitutional Court in
favour of the Sudanese Women’s Union challenging a decision by the Governor of Khartoum
prohibiting women from working in certain professions. In spite of this glimmer of hope the
Constitutional Court was generally seen by most people in the legal profession that I spoke to
as being a constitutional court in name only.
3.9 Refugee Rights
3.9.1Freedom of liberty and movement
In terms of the Regulation of Asylum Act refugees should not exercise any political activities
during their stay in Sudan and should not depart from their specified place of residence. Upon
ratification the government of Sudan made a reservation to article 26 of the 1951 Convention.
The rationale for this reservation was explained to me by Mubarak Talha, Head of Protection
COR, as being made to ensure that Sudan meets its obligations in terms of the OAU
Convention.
It was emphasised to me by COR officials that the reservation did not imply a complete ban
on movement of refugees. In this regard, it was pointed out to me that the government of
Sudan issues CTD’s, thus recognising the right of refugees to travel outside of the country. It
was also acknowledged that there were individuals who were necessitated to travel outside
the settlements as part of their occupations, or for reasons of educational opportunities or
medical care. In all of these instances, the refugees would be given a movement note,
indicating the purpose of their travel. It was pointed out to me that self-settled refugees in
urban areas such as Khartoum, were free to stay in the city provided they were in possession
of an refugee ID, however if they needed to leave the city, in order to travel to one of the
settlements to visit for example relatives, they would also have to obtain a movement note.
3.9.2 Freedom of association
The government of Sudan permits freedom of association of refugee organisations within
certain limitations. In order to be registered as an association with the Humanitarian Aid
Commission (HAC), certain conditions have to be met. In the case of refugee associations,
they are generally expected to be for purposes of welfare (the establishment of political
organisations is forbidden). I was told that 10-15 years ago there were scores of refugee
associations, but that many of them had closed down as a result of the various repatriation
programmes as well as the application of the cessation clause, and that only a handful are still
operational.
3.9.3 Freedom of religion
In the case of Sudan, freedom of religion in relation to refugees is observed insofar as
churches and mosques are permitted in the settlements, as well as the fact that both Christian
and Islamic schools are available for refugees to attend. Mubarak Talha, the Head of
Protection at COR noted in response to a question as to whether or not refugees were
resettled to third countries for reasons of problems in Sudan in relation to religion, that he
was not aware of any such cases, but remarked that practically all those who were resettled
by UNHCR were Christians.
3.9.4 Right to protection of property
When entering the Sudan, a refugee’s movable property is registered. The purpose of this is
to allow the refugee to take this property with them in the event that they voluntarily
repatriate. The practice has also been to allow refugees to repatriate with whatever
immovable property they acquired during their stay in Sudan. Article 9 of Asylum Act of
1974, however, prohibits the ownership by refugees of immovable property.

3.9.5 Access to housing
Refugees in the settlements are provided with basic shelter, however self-settled refugees in
urban areas are not provided with such assistance. It was pointed out to me by Mubarak
Talha, the Head of Protection at COR that the Refugee Counseling Service would assist
refugees from settlements who were in Khartoum to find accommodation where they had for
example been referred for purposes of medical treatment.
3.9.6 Education
Elementary education in the settlements is provided for by UNHCR. In urban areas and in
relation to higher education, refugees compete with nationals for scarce resources. Mubarak
Talha, the Head of Protection at COR informed me that in the past a number of opportunities
for refugees to acquire funding particularly for higher education and technical and vocational
training existed, but that this had ceased due to a lack of funding.
3.9.7 Access to health care
Health care is provided for in the settlements. Where refugees require treatment not available
in these settlements they are referred to urban areas. Self-settled refugees in urban areas,
share public health services with nationals. The Refugee Counseling Service also provides
some assistance in relation to the medical needs of refugees.
3.9.9 Labour legislation and social security
In theory, refugees would be entitled to the same social welfare benefits as Sudanese
nationals. Given the scarcity of resources, social welfare benefits are not generally available
in Sudan.
The most important pieces of labour legislation in Sudan are the Individual Labour Relations
Act, 1981, regulating the relationship between employers and employees and other related
matters, the Work Injuries Compensation Act, 1981, providing for compensation for injuries
sustained in the course of employment and the Industrial Relations Act, 1976 setting out the
manner in which labour disputes should be settled. These instruments are said to apply in
theory, equally to refugees.
3.9.10 Employment
The Regulation of Asylum Act, 1974, permits refugees to work in any field except industry
or business relating to the security of the country or national defence. In practice priority is
given to Sudanese nationals. In order to be able to legally work in the Sudan, a refugee has to
obtain a work permit from the Department of Labour, which is renewable on a yearly basis.
Mubarak Talha, the Head of Protection at COR stated that the organisation attempts to
facilitate the acquisition of work permits by writing an administrative letter to the Labour
Department introducing the refugee and would also try to facilitate the registration of
refugees possessing medical and legal qualifications with the relevant councils in Sudan.
Many refugees, owning to the fact that it is difficult to find employment in the formal labour
market work either in the informal sector or opt for self-employment. The latter type of
employment is usually on a small scale. Mubarak Talha pointed out that a woman making
and selling injera in her home would not require a permit, but that in other cases, the
appropriate permits would have to be acquired in accordance with the relevant Sudanese
legislation regulating the operating of businesses and trading.
3.10 Security situation of refugees in the Sudan
COR officials stated that there had been instances reported of refugees being abducted or
murdered particularly in the mid-90’s in the camps close to the border. They admitted that
such incidents still occurred occasionally but that if such an event was reported, it would be
fully investigated. Mubarak Talha, the Head of Protection at COR stated that it was difficult
to assess claims of security concerns. Mamadou Balde, Associate Protection Officer at
UNHCR noted in this regard that UNHCR received approximately 10 letters a day requesting
resettlement, some of which were security related cases. He stated that some of the authors of
the letters would be interviewed and their claims assessed. He pointed out that in the month
August 2002, 9 cases were resettled as it was found that there was a lack of protection for
these individuals in Sudan.

3.11 Respect for the principle of non-refoulement
Both UNHCR and COR stated categorically that the principle of non-refoulement is
respected in Sudan. Neither of them was aware of any cases of refugees being deported to
their country of origin. In cases of expulsion of refugees, Mamadou Balde, Associate
Protection Officer at UNCHR stated that COR stays the proceedings until such time as
UNHCR as able to find a country willing to take the person.
3.12 Position of persons not recognised as refugees
The situation of persons not recognised as refugees, having either been rejected by COR or
simply not having applied for refugee status is regulated by the immigration laws of the
country. Both UNHCR and COR officials pointed out that owning to the size of Sudan and
the general hospitality of the Sudanese, that these individuals were able to live in the country,
for the most part without any problems. It was pointed out to me that the police would
occasionally pick up foreigners, but that this was more the exception than the rule.
3.13 Particular problems facing Arab asylum seekers in the Sudan
It was pointed out to me by Mamadou Balde, UNHCR Associate Protection Officer that COR
does not recognise Arab asylum seekers. The rationale for this according to him was that the
government viewed these individuals as part of the “Umma Islamia” and therefore not in
need of protection. He stated that UNHCR has been trying to get COR to reconsider its stance
towards Arab asylum seekers. It was noted that if such individuals approached UNHCR and
they met the relevant criteria, UNHCR would attempt to resettle them to a third country.
When I raised this issue with Mubarak Talha, the Head of Protection at COR I was told that
Arabs generally entered Sudan, as nationals in possession of a valid passports and that they
merely intend to use Sudan as a transit point in order to travel to Western countries, which is
why they were not recognised. He pointed out that such persons would not be sent back to
their country of origin, but that COR would send them to UNHCR in order to find them a
country that would be willing to accept them for resettlement.
3.11 Repatriation of Refugees in Sudan
The government of Sudan’s policy towards refugees has always been premised on voluntary
repatriation as the best solution for refugees in the Sudan. To this end, the government of
Sudan has engaged in voluntary repatriation through bilateral and tripartite agreements with
the countries of origin and UNHCR.

Ethiopians
In February 1993, a tripartite agreement between UNHCR, the government of Sudan and
Ethiopia was signed in terms of which the voluntary repatriation of Ethiopians was
encouraged. This process continued up until June 1998, with large numbers opting to return
home.
As a result of perceived improved political and human rights conditions in Ethiopia, UNHCR
declared in March 2000 that Ethiopian refugees who fled prior to 1991 (most of whom fled
because of the civil war and human rights abuses during the 80s) no longer qualified for
prima facie refugee status. This in effect meant that this group of Ethiopians in Sudan either
had to repatriate or apply for individualised refugee status. The process of individualised
refugee status conducted by the Sudanese authorities in concert with UNHCR has been
extremely controversial (in particular complaints were raised about the neutrality of the
translators and quality of their translation during the screening interviews). Out of the
approximately 3000 applicants who applied, fewer than 300 were “screened in.” Those who
were rejected, are treated as aliens by the Sudanese authorities. COR officials stated that they
were given the opportunity to legalise their status in Sudan by obtaining national passports
from the Ethiopian Embassy and then obtaining residency from the government of Sudan
provided they met the criteria as set out in the immigration laws. This process is still
underway. In practice however, thousands of Ethiopians, unwilling to approach their
Embassy because of a well-founded fear of persecution and having been rejected in the
“screening in process” now live in Sudan in refugee like circumstances, without any legal
protection and as such are particularly vulnerable.
Eritreans
The repatriation of Eritreans commenced through a pilot bilateral project between COR and
UNHCR on the one side and the Eritrean government and UNHCR on the other side. During
the period between 1994 and 1995, COR stated that more than 24 000 Eritreans were
repatriated. However, there was quite a large flow-back of these refugees back into Sudan.
After the restoration of diplomatic relations between the Sudanese and Eritrean governments
the foundation for the repatriation of Eritreans in Sudan was laid. In April 2000, a tripartite
agreement was singed to repatriate Eritreans. Under the tripartite agreement, the repatriation
program was supposed begin in mid-2000. However, the renewal of the Eritrean-Ethiopian
border war in May 2000 forced authorities to cancel the return program before it began.
When the war ceased a new tripartite agreement was signed in April 2001. Mubarak Talha,
the Head of Protection at COR pointed out that assistance to Eritrean refugees in Sudan had
ceased in December 2001. In this regard, he acknowledged that this could potentially affect
the voluntariness of repatriation.
In February 2002, UNHCR declared the application of the cessation clause in relation to
Eritrean refugees. The cessation clause will take effect on 31 December 2002. Mubarak
Talha, the Head of Protection at COR, stated that the Sudanese government had reservations
in this regard, but that in spite of them, it had decided to continue with the process. He stated
that one of COR’s major concerns was the insufficient time frames for implementation.
At the time of my visit, UNHCR, COR and the Eritrean government had already started
conducting information campaigns on return, registrations for those wishing to return had
been open for just over a month and registration for screening had also just opened up. I
visited both one of the 8 registrations centers around the country as well as the sole
“screening center” in Khartoum, which had started screening applications on the day of my
visit.
The registration center was jointly staffed by COR as well as local UNHCR employees. The
day I visited, no one came to register. I was told that in the last 10 days before my visit, only
7 families (30 persons in total) had registered, most of whom were middle aged. The sense I
got from all parties concerned was that the majority of refugees were waiting for screening. I
was told that the first convoy would leave on 31 September 2002 from the East of Sudan and
that the first convoy from Khartoum was scheduled to leave on 3 October 2002. The scene at
the screening center was a far cry from that at the registration center. I arrived at about mid-
day and there were at least 100 people lined up outside the offices waiting to register. I was
told that persons registering would be scheduled for an interview for the following day, but
that waiting periods were likely to increase as more people applied. I was told that results
would be posted within 10 days, but that this would also in all likelihood increase and had
earlier been informed by Mamadou Balde, the Associate Protection Officer that written
reasons for acceptance/rejection would be provided to applicants. Applications would be
screened by teams of COR and UNHCR lawyers, who would make a joint decision.
Applicants could appeal to an appeals board if rejected. At the time of my visit, the appeals
board had not yet been constituted. I was informed that it too would be jointly staffed by
UNHCR and COR officials.
Other groups
Chadians, Congolese and Ugandans are all being encouraged to repatriate to their countries of
origin. Even though the Chadian refugees present in Sudan are for the most part self-
sufficient, given the Sudanese authorities stance towards local integration, UNHCR has been
encouraging them to repatriate. UNHCR has also been working with the Ugandan Embassy
in Sudan to assist the residual Ugandan refugees to repatriate to Uganda. However, as
mentioned above, given the insecurity prevailing in northern Uganda, this is not a UNHCR
priority. As with the case of the Ugandan refugees, UNHCR is also working towards
repatriating Congolese refugees, particularly those who arrived 20/30 years ago.
4 The situation of IDPs in Sudan
4.1 Background
There are almost 2 million IDPs said to live in the Greater Khartoum area. Only a small
proportion of these are settled in the four official IDP camps the government has created. The
vast majority of them live in a host of planned and unplanned areas as squatters in makeshift
homes. The primary cause of displacement is the civil war that has raged since 1983.
However, natural disasters, such as drought, famine and flooding, have also caused
displacement and more recently, large numbers of people are being displaced as a result of oil
exploration.


4.2 Employment, food security and access to water
The name of the IDP camp I visited, Jabaronna (“they forced us here”) was indicative of the
situation in which the displaced find themselves in. Jabaronna is located in an isolated and
barren area at least an hour’s drive from the nearest possible employment opportunities.
What struck me upon arrival in the camp (which can be termed a long-term settlement as it
has been in existence for 10 years) was the complete absence of livestock and small scale,
farming. When I inquired, I was told the main reason behind this was because of lack of
access to water. I noticed that around Jabaronna there were a few boreholes, which CARE
had drilled (I was told that many of the pumps were no longer functioning), but that many,
particularly those situated in outlying areas had to purchase their water from donkey carts at
exorbitant prices.
From speaking to the women in the IDP camp, it appeared that they were for the most part
primary breadwinners, and were more often than not the heads of households, with many
having lost their husbands as a result of the war. They informed me that they earned their
living through casual domestic work – washing, ironing and cleaning in Omdurman,
Khartoum and Khartoum North. They told me that they would occasionally go for days
without finding any work. All the women I spoke to told me that they spent almost half of
their day’s earnings on transportation to and from work, and the remainder on food. They told
me that they often were not even able to provide one meal (which normally consists of a
sandwich) for their families. Francis Bassan, the Executive Director of Sudan Aid, informed
me that the organisation was involved in some school feeding schemes in the IDP camps, but
that this was limited to certain parishes. Many women told me of how Islamic Organisations
were providing food aid, but that this went hand in hand with religious instruction, often
requiring people to convert in order to obtain assistance.
Many women resorted to illegal brewing of alcohol in order to survive. One young woman I
spoke with had been imprisoned on 5 separate occasions for brewing for periods ranging
from 3-7 months. Women spoke of their children being incarcerated with them and also of
instances where their children were left for neighbours to care for, while they were in prison.
The prison conditions they described spoke of inadequate food and lack of sanitation. One
woman described how in the absence of any brooms or other cleaning materials they were
forced to sweep up feces and urine with their hands in their cells. Simeon Bolis an advocate
associated with the Catholic Bishop’s Conference briefed me on their efforts to assist women
who have been imprisoned for the brewing of alcohol by providing legal assistance to them.
He noted that they had had some success in this regard, but that the numbers of women who
were imprisoned for these offences were overwhelming.
Men on the whole seemed to have a harder time at finding work. They mostly engaged in odd
jobs on construction sites. The months of July-September were said to be particularly hard, as
practically all construction and brick making ceased due to the rain. The rain also caused
severe problems for those living in shelters made from sacks, plastic and cotton and even
those living in more permanent mud brick structures. The rainy season also brought with it
the onset of malaria and other diseases.
20 I interviewed a group of between 50-60 women, within the “church compound”. I was not able to interview any men, given that I had come to the IDP camp on the pretext of praying with this group of women and did not want to raise suspicion of the people’s committees by walking around in the camp randomly speaking to people.
4.3 Access to health care and education
Although there are clinics in the IDP camps, these tend to be dependent on external funding
from NGOs and are often staffed by inadequately trained health workers. Unfortunately due
to time constraints I was not able to visit one of these clinics. However, I did speak to the
women about their access to health care. They complained of inadequate facilities as well as
medicines. Many of the women I spoke to either were suffering from an illness themselves or
had a family member that was ill. I observed that most of the children appeared to be
malnourished and that the babies also seemed to be underweight (I saw one child who I
would have estimated to be no more than 2 months old, whom I was told was already 6
months old).
Provision is made for primary schools in some of the IDP camps by the government, however
there are no secondary schools in the camps. The education offered by the government is said
to have a heavy Islamic bias and tends to be under funded and under resourced. NGOs, in
particular religious organisations also operate schools in the IDP camps. These schools are
run either by the Churches or the Dawa Islamia, an Islamic Organisation providing religious
based education. In spite of the general availability of primary schooling many children are
not enrolled. This can be attributed to the fact that many parents are not able to afford even
the minimal fees charged and also the fact that older children – some as young as 5 or 6 are
made to care for their siblings, while their mothers search for employment. The school I
visited while in the camp, was funded by the Church. The facilities can only be described as
inadequate. Primary 1 consisted of a reed shelter with only blackboard and no desks or chairs.
The teachers I spoke of complained of inadequate funding, lack of teaching materials and
also of the fact that students often fainted in class because of a lack of food.
4.4 The security situation of IDPs
IDPs residing in the Khartoum area live in constant fear of demolitions. The women I spoke
to in Jabaronna told me of how government officials would come into the camp, destroy
homes and relocate the former inhabitants to even more remote areas such as Ras Shatan
(“Satan’s Head”). The women also told me that they were afraid to speak out against the
government for fear of retribution. In this regard they told me of how, after Kofi Anan’s visit
in July 2002, action was taken against people who spoke of human rights violations. The role
of the ever-present people’s committees was also mentioned as a source of insecurity. Finally
in relation to the security situation of young men as regards military training, a number of
persons I spoke to both in the camps as well as outside stated that large scale recruitment of
Southerners had not taken place in the last year to year and a half. The reason for this was
apparently the fear of defection of Southerners. However, in spite of this, I was told that
many young men were presently hiding from the authorities fearing that they might be
forcibly recruited. Several of the women I spoke to told me how their husbands or other male
relatives had been recruited, three to four years ago and that they had not had any word from
them since then.
4.5 Perceptions of IDPs coming to Egypt
For the vast majority of persons I spoke to on the train and boat on route to Egypt, a
combination of lack of economic opportunities, general insecurity and the hope of a better
life elsewhere led them to leave Sudan. It should be noted that it is difficult to asses to what
extent the persons I spoke to were indeed forthcoming about the real reasons for leaving
Sudan.

The young men I spoke to, told me about their intention to apply for refugee status once in
Egypt. I was curious as to what their expectations of UNHCR and Egypt were and questioned
them on this issue. Almost all of them told me that they hoped to apply to UNHCR in order to
travel to Canada, Australia or the US. None of them viewed Egypt as their final destination,
although there were a few who had made contingency plans to study in Egypt until such time
as they could travel. Most of them were under the impression that this process would be
quick and that within a few months, they would find themselves in a new country able to start
a new life. Most of them did not know what UNHCR was, and when questioned, it appeared
that they viewed it as some sort of travel agency. Most of them had heard about UNHCR
from friends or family members who had been resettled to third countries. Only one of the
men I spoke with was aware of the definition of a refugee as applied by UNHCR. He was
somewhat older and had also spent time in Lebanon before. The men I spoke to were coming
to Egypt, either with very little or no money, often with no family contacts and a general
sense that no matter how insecure their futures were, having embarked on the journey to
Egypt, it was bound to be better than the past they were leaving behind.
4.6 Return of IDP communities
As their prospects for economic integration in Khartoum are limited, practically all the
displaced I spoke to, in particular the elderly women, were eager to return to the South, where
they believed they would be able to secure for themselves and their families basic levels of
subsistence.
The pervading sense that I got from everyone that I spoke to while in Sudan was one of
extreme optimism in relation to peace actually being established, in spite of the fact that the
Machakos agreement had just fallen apart. Perhaps this sense of optimism can attributed to
the glimmer of hope, which Machakos offered - people were able to see perhaps for the first
time, that peace is within reach. The sense I got was that the average Sudanese man and
woman, both northerner and southerner was not in favour of continuation of what they see to
be a senseless war. In the NGO and IGO sector, everyone is gearing up for the day that peace
is establisehd. The buzzword at the moment is capacity building with a view to reconstructing
the war-torn areas of the South.

6. Conclusion
In the short period of time that I was in Sudan, I merely scratched the surface in relation to
both refugees as well as IDPs. It is clear that further research in this area is needed. Although
I obtained basic information in relation to the RSD process, the rights of refugees,
repatriation as well as refugees and the legal process in Sudan, I was not able to interview
refugees themselves, and as such the picture I present is one-sided. In relation to IDPs the
situation is reversed. The information I have is based almost exclusively on discussions I had
with women in the IDP camp I visited and the young men I met traveling back on the train
and boat to Egypt. Thus, it too is deficient in that I do not address in any degree of detail what
the government and various other actors are doing in relation to IDPs in Sudan.
Annex 1: List of persons interviewed

The following is a list of persons formally interviewed by me while in Sudan (this list does
not include names and contact details of persons interviewed informally at the Repatriation
Registration and Screening Centres for Eritrean Refugees, the IDP camp or those interviewed
on route to Egypt):
Name of contact person and organisation
Commission for Refugees
Khartoum, Sudan Tel: + 249 11 774346/7802011 Fax: + 249 11 780622 Commission for Refugees
Khartoum, Sudan Tel: + 249 11 774346/7802011 Fax: + 249 11 780622 Chief Technical Advisor - IDPs- Marv Koop United Nations Development Project
Khartoum, Sudan Tel +249 11 783820 Fax: +249 11 783764 Mobile: +249 12141998 E-ma United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights
United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees
Tel: + 249 1147 1101/471013 Fax: + 249 11 473101 Faculty of Law Khartoum University
Faculty of Technological and Development Khartoum, Sudan
Studies, University of Khartoum
Faculty of Economics and Social Studies,
Department of Anthropology and
Sociology, University of Khartoum
Development Studies and Research
Centre, University of Khartoum
Faculty of Economics and Social Studies,
Department of Anthropology and
Sociology, University of Khartoum
Disaster Management and Refugee Studies Khartoum, Sudan
Institute
Khartoum International Centre for
Human Rights
Training Venue: Cofftea Building El Gamhouria Avenue - East of Faroug Mosque Tel: + 249 11 799240 Fax: +249 11 799241 Mobile: +249 12133410 E-mail: [email protected] Sudan Aid Catholic Bishop's Conference
Riyadh, Khartoum, Sudan Tel: +249 11 222663 Fax: +249 11 222710 Executive Secretary - Isaac Kongur Kenyi Justice and Peace Commission Catholic
Bishop's Conference
Sudanese Organisation for Human Rights
and Legal Aid
Sudanese Organisation for Human Rights
and Legal Aid
Der Kom Awan
Advocate, Member of the National
Assembly of Omdurman and Legal
Advisor to the Sudan Catholic Bishop's
Conference
Advocate
Souk Arabi, 2nd Floor Office No 25 Tel: +249 11 777425 Mobile: 249 11 12246192 Annex 2 The Regulation of Asylum Act 1974
1. Title and commencement.
This Act may be cited as "The Regulation of Asylum Act 1974" and shall come into force upon signature. 2. Definition.
In this Act unless the context otherwise requires: "Minister" means the Minister of Interior. "Refugee" means any person who leaves the country of his nationality owing to fear of persecution or danger by reason of race, religion, or membership of any social or political group, or owing to fear of military operations, occupation, outside aggression, foreign domination or internal disturbances, is unable or is, owing to such fear, unwilling to return to his country, where he habitually resides by reason of such events and is unable, or is unwilling, by reason of fear, to return thereto. The term "refugee" includes also children who are not accompanied by adults, or who are war orphans, or whose guardians have disappeared and are outside the countries of their nationalities. "Commissioner" means the Commissioner General for refugees and includes his assistants. "Competent authority" means any person appointed by the Minister to be a competent authority. "Assistant commissioner" means the person appointed under section 3(2)hereof. 3. Commissioner and registrars of refugees.
(1)The Minister shall appoint a Commissioner for Refugees responsible to him, whose main office shall be in Khartoum. We shall carry out the duties and perform the acts which are required to him by this Act and the regulations made under it, or by the Minister. (2)The Minister may appoint a suitable person to perform the functions of the Commissioner in the Provinces. 4. The keeping of registers.
(1)Every Assistant Commissioner shall keep a register in which he shall register the applications for asylum and the names of all the refugees who enter his region. (2)The register shall contain detailed particulars showing the name of the refugee, his nationality - if any - and the place of his permanent residence if he has no nationality. The reasons which prevented him, or made him unwilling to return to his country, shall be shown and his profession, religion, age description and any other matters the registration of which is necessary in the opinion of the Commissioner, shall be registered. (3)The Assistant Commissioner shall keep a copy of his register and send two copies thereof to the Commissioner as soon as possible. 5. Granting permission of asylum.
The Minister shall have power to grant asylum in the Sudan, and he may delegate such power. 6. Presentation of the matter of asylum.
(1)After registration of applications for asylum - if any or the names of refugees and the particulars relating thereto, such matter shall be submitted to the Minister for the exercise of his powers in accordance with section 5 hereof and the Minister shall decide upon the application or the matter within an initial maximum period of one month. If he does not decide upon the application or the matter during such period, the permission of asylum in respect of the refugee who actually entered the Sudan shall be deemed as granted, and shall continue for an initial period of three months after which the matter may be reviewed. (2)The residence of the refugee shall be renewed during the waiting period between the registration of the application for asylum and the decision or non-decision thereon, in the place specified by the Minister. (3)If the application of the refugee is not approved, or if the period of three months granted to him under sub-section (1) hereof, lapses before a decision is made on his application, the Minister shall enable him to communicate with foreign missions or other countries for the purpose of submitting his application to them. If he does not find any country which approves his application, he shall be granted another period of three months, which may be renewed until a country which accepts him is found, or the Minister makes a decision in respect of him. (4)If the application of the refugee is approved, he shall be registered as refugee for a period of five years which registration may be renewed for similar further periods. 7. Priority of application of treaties
The Minister, the Commissioner and any competent authority shall give due consideration in the exercise of his powers under this Act, to any treaty or convention regulating the subject of asylum to which the Sudan is a party, and such treaty or convention shall be given priority in the application of the provisions of this Act. 8. Registration of movables.
On the registration of the particulars of a refugee, there shall be registered particulars of all movables which he brings into the Sudan with him - if any - so as to permit him to take them away with him on his return to his original country, or when he takes asylum into another country. A copy of such register shall be kept with the customs officer or the other competent authorities to assist in the return of refugees to their country. 9. Ownership of lands and immovables.
No refugee shall own lands or immovables in the Sudan. 10. Detention of the refugee and his subjection to the laws and prevention of political
activity.

(1)The refugee shall be subject to the general laws which apply to all Sudanese. He may be detained if it is found necessary. (2)No refugee shall exercise any political activity during his presence in the Sudan, and he shall not depart from any place of residence specified for him. The penalty for contravening this subsection, shall be imprisonment for not more than one year. 11. Expulsion refugees.
A refugee may be expelled in the following cases: (a)if the reasons which made him seek asylum have ceased to apply and it is possible to return him to his original country; (b)if he commits a serious non-political crime outside the Sudan before he is granted permission to enter as a refugee. In such case he may be extradited in accordance with the extradition Act, 1957; (c)if he commits a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity; (d)if he commits acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations or the Organisation of African Unity; (e)if he commits a serious non-political crime outside the Sudan after being granted permission of asylum; (f)if his presence in the Sudan constitutes a danger to the internal or external national security of the Sudan. 12. Issue of passports to refugees.
Subject to the Passports and Immigration Act, 1961, the Minister in his discretion, or any person he authorises may issue a passport to any refugee who requests the same. The Minister of Foreign Affairs may in exceptional circumstances specified by him by an order, issue a diplomatic passport to a refugee. 13. Identity Cards.
(1)The Commissioner for Refugees shall, with the assistance of his assistants, issue an identity card to every refugee on his registration or at a subsequent time. The card shall bear the consecutive number found in the register of refugees. (2)The card shall be issued for the period during which the refugee is granted permission to stay in the Sudan, and shall be renewed on the renewal of such period. 14. Permission for refugees to work.
(1)No refugee shall be permitted to work in any job, industry or business relating to the security of the country or national defence. (2)A refugee shall be allowed to work in occupations other than those referred to in subsection (1) hereof after receiving permission therefor from the Department of Labour and the Department of Labour shall send a copy of the permission to the Ministry of Interior. 15. Regulations.
(1)The Minister may make any regulations he thinks necessary for the effective implementation of the provisions of this Act. (2)Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing such regulations may provide for:- (a)counting of refugees in the Sudan and the issue of residence cards thereto; (b)Control of refugees including the keep of order, peace, health, forces and the like. Annex 3: The Constitution of the Democratic Republic of the Sudan
Article 44
Political refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Sudan shall not be extradited to another State, except in the cases, and in the manner, prescribed by law. Annex 4: The Sudanese Nationality Act 1957
An Act to make provision for Sudanese nationality and for matters connected therewith. PART I-PRELIMINARY
1. Title.
This Act may be cited as the Sudanese Nationality Act. 1957. 2. Repealed.
The definition of Sudanese Ordinance. 1948 is hereby Repeal. 3. Interpretation
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires. “Alien” means a person who is not a Sudanese; “Certificate of naturalization” means a certificate of naturalization granted or deemed to have been granted under this Act; “Child” means a legitimate child and includes an adopted child and a step-child; “Disability” means the incapacity of any person by reason of minority or unsoundness of mind; “Domicile” means the place in which a person has his Permanent home or in which he resides and to which he returns as his place of permanent abode and does not include the place where he resides for a special or temporary purpose only; “Father” in regard to a person born out of wedlock or not legitimated, includes the mother of the person; “Minister” means the Minister of the interior; “Minor” means a person who has not attained the age of twenty one years1; “Prescribed” means prescribed by regulations made under this Act; “Responsible parent” in relation to a child, means the father of that child; or, where the mother has been given the custody of the child by order of a competent court, or where the father is dead, or where the child was born out of wedlock and resides with the mother, means the mother of that child; “Sudan” comprises of those territories which were included in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, immediately before the commencement of The Sudan Transitional Constitution 1956. 4. Capacity.
A person shall, for the purposes of this Act. Be of full age, if he has attained the age of twenty one years, and of full capacity if he is not of unsound mind. PART II.-NATIONALITY BY DESCENT
5. Definition of Sudanese by descent.
(1)A person born before the commencement of this Act shall be a Sudanese by descent, if - (a) (i) he was born in the Sudan, or his father was born in the Sudan; and (ii)he, at the coming into force of this Act, is domiciled in the Sudan, and has been so domiciled since the first day of January, 1924 or else whose ancestors in the direct male line since that date have all been domiciled; or (b)has acquired and maintained the status of a Sudanese by domicile under section 3 (a) of the Definition of Sudanese Ordinance, 1948; Provided that a person who and whose father were neither of them born in the Sudan, may, if
he satisfies the requirements of subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (a) apply to the Minister for an
order that he be deemed to be a Sudanese by descent, and the Minister in his discretion if he
thinks fit in any case may order accordingly. [1]
(2)A person born after the commencement of this Act, shall be a Sudanese by descent if his
father is a Sudanese by descent at the time of his birth. [2]
(3)A person born to parents who are Sudanese by naturalization shall be a Sudanese by
descent, if his parents have obtained the Sudanese nationality by naturalization before his
birth.[3]
6. Foundlings.
A person who is or was first found as deserted infant of unknown parents shall, until the contrary is proved, be deemed to be a Sudanese by descent. 7. Nationality certificate.
The Minister shall, on the application of any Sudanese by descent under the provisions of this Part, and upon payment of the prescribed fees, issue to such applicant a nationality certificate in the prescribed form. PART III-NATURALIZATION
8. Certificate of naturalization.
(1)The Minister may, in his absolute discretion, grant a certificate of nationalization as s a Sudanese to an alien who makes an application in the prescribed form and satisfies the Minister that,- (b)he has been domiciled in the Sudan for a period of ten years immediately preceding the date of the date of the application; (c)he has an adequate knowledge of the Arable Language or, if he has not such adequate knowledge, he has resided continuously in the Sudan for more than twenty years; (d)he is of good character, and has not previously been convicted of a criminal offence
involving moral turpitude;[4]
(e)he intends, if naturalized, to continue to reside permanently in t Sudan; and (f)if he is a national of any foreign country, he has under the law of that country, validly and
effectively in accordance with the law of such country renounced and divested himself of the
nationality of that country;[5]
(g)he is of sound body and mind and not suffering from a permanent infirmity which renders
him a burden on the community.[6]
(2)No certificate of naturalization shall be granted to any person under sub-section (1) until the applicant has taken the oath of allegiance in the form set out in the Schedule hereto. (3)A person to whom a certificate of naturalization has been granted under this section, shall have the status of a Sudanese by naturalization as from the date of that certificate. (4)The Minister may, upon application in that behalf, include in a certificate of naturalization the names of any minor children of whom the grantee is the responsible parent; such minors shall, as from the date of such inclusion, have the status of a Sudanese by naturalization. (5)A grant made under section 4 of the Definition of Sudanese Ordinance, 1948, shall be deemed to be a certificate of naturalization granted under sub-section (1). 9. Married alien woman.
The Minister may grant a certificate f naturalization as a Sudanese to an alien woman who makes an application in the prescribed form and satisfies the Minister that,- (a)she is the wife of a Sudanese in accordance with the provisions of Sudanese law; and (b)she has resided with her Sudanese husband in the Sudan for a continuous period of not less than two years from the date of such application; Provided that the President of the Republic may, upon the recommendation of the Minister, exempt her from the provisions of this paragraph if she has resided with her Sudanese husband in the Sudan continuously for a period of not less than two years immediately before the date of submitting such application; and (c)she has validly and effectively renounced her foreign nationality in accordance with the
laws of the country of which she was a national and has divested herself of such
nationality.[7]
9A. Restriction to the enjoyment of the rights of a Sudanese national.
The alien who has been granted the Sudanese nationality in accordance with the provisions of
section 8 and 9, shall not exercise the rights assigned to Sudanese national coil the expiration
of three years from the date on which the alien has been granted such nationality; and may by
a decision of the President of the republic be exempted from this restriction.[8]
10. Repealed.[9]
11. Register of naturalized Sudanese.
There shall be kept and maintained, in the prescribed form, a register of persons who are granted the Sudanese nationality by naturalization. PART IV-LOSS OR DEPRIVATION OF NATIONALITY
12. Loss by voluntary act.
Where the President of the Republic is satisfied that a Sudanese of full age and capacity,- (a)has acquired the nationality of a foreign country by any voluntary and formal act other than marriage; or (b)has made a declaration renouncing his Sudanese nationality: Provided however, that the President of the Republic may refuse to accept such declaration if it is made during the continuance of any war in which the Sudan is engaged; or (c)has, after the commencement of this Act, taken or made an oath, affirmation or other declaration of allegiance to a foreign country; or (d)has entered or continued in the service of a foreign country, in contravention of any express provision of any law in that behalf; the President of the Republic may order that such person shall cease to be a Sudanese. 13. Deprivation of nationality.
(1)Where the President of the Republic is satisfied that a Sudanese by naturalization,- (a)has obtained his certificate of naturalization by fraud, false representation or the concealment of any material fact; or (b)has, during any war in which the Sudan is or has been engaged, unlawfully traded or communicated with enemy or with he enemy or subject of any enemy State or has been engaged in, or associated with, any business that was to his knowledge carried on in such a manner as to assist an enemy in that war; or (c)has within five years after the date on which he was naturalized, been sentenced in any
country to imprisonment for a term not less than one year, for an offence involving moral
turpitude; or[10]
(d)if out of the Sudan, has shown himself by act or speech to be disloyal or disaffected towards the Sudan; or (e)if in the Sudan, has been convicted of any offence involving disloyalty or disaffection to the Sudan; or (f)has resided outside the Sudan for a continuous period of five years, unless,- (i)he has so resided by reason of his service under the Sudan Government of his service with an international organization of which the Sudan is a member; or (ii)he has so resided as the representative or employee of a person, company or firm, resident or established in the Sudan; or (iii)in the case of a wife or minor child of a person referred to in sub-paragraph (I) or (ii), such wife of child has so resided with such person; or (iv)he has, at least once in every year during that period, given notice to the Minister in the prescribed form of his intention to retain his Sudanese nationality; the President of the Republic may by order, deprive that person of his Sudanese nationality. (2)Before making an order under this section, the President of the Republic may give to the
person in respect of whom the order is proposed to be made, a notice in writing informing
him, of the grounds on which the order is proposed to be made, and that he may apply to have
the case referred to a committee of inquiry.[11]
(3)If in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (2), and within a period of six months
of the date of the notice, such person so applies, the President of the Republic may refer the
case to a committee for inquiry as hereinafter provided.[12]
(4)An inquiry under this section shall be held by a committee constituted for the purpose by
the President of the Republic, and the Chairman shall be a person who holds or had held a
judicial office not below the status of a Province Judge.[13]
(5)The person in respect of whom an order is proposed to be made under this section, shall be entitled to appear before the committee of inquiry personally or by an advocate or a duly authorised agent on his behalf. (6)The committee appointed under this section shall have all such powers, rights and privileges as are vested in a Court of a District Judge of the First Grade in respect of,- (a) enforcing the attendance of witnesses and examining them on oath affirmation or otherwise and the issue of a commission or request to take evidence abroad; and (b)compelling the production of documents. (7)The committee of inquiry shall, on such reference hold the inquiry in such manner as may
be prescribed and submit its report to the President of the Republic and the President of the
Republic shall act upon the decision of the committee.[14]
14. Date of loss or deprivation.
Where the President of the Republic orders that any person shall cease to be a Sudanese, or
be deprived of his Sudanese nationality, the order shall have effect from such date as the
President of the Republic may direct, and thereupon the said person shall cease to be a
Sudanese.[15]
15. Effect of loss or deprivation.
When a person ceases to be a Sudanese or has been deprived of his Sudanese nationality, he shall not thereby be discharged from any obligation, duty or liability in respect of any act or thing done or omitted before he has ceased to be a Sudanese or been deprived of the Sudanese nationality. 16. Effect of loss or deprivation on minors.
(1)When the responsible parent of a minor ceases to be a Sudanese under section 12, the minor shall cease to be a Sudanese only if he is, or thereupon becomes under the law of any country, other than the Sudan, a national of that country. (2)Where a person is deprived of his Sudanese nationality under section 13, the Minister may, by order, direct that all or any of the minor children of whom that person is the responsible parent shall cease to be Sudanese; provided that such minor may, within one year after attaining majority, make a declaration that he wishes to resume the Sudanese nationality, and thereupon he shall again become a Sudanese. 17. Publication.
The Minister shall cause to be published in the Gazette the names and addresses of persons who have lost or who have been deprived of their Sudanese nationality under this Part. PART V-MISCELANEOUS
18. Posthumous childcare.
Any references in this act to the states or description of the father of a person at the time of that person’s birth shall, in relation to a person born after the death of his father, be construed as a reference to the status or description of the father at the time of the father’s death; and where the death occurred before, and the birth after, the commencement of this Act the states or description which would have been applicable to the father had he died after the commencement of this Act shall be deemed to be the status or description application him at the time of his death. 19. Penalties.
(a)for any of the purposes of this Act knowingly makes a false representation or a statement false in a material particular; or (b)uses another person’s certificate of naturalization to personate that other person; or (c)knowingly permits his certificate of naturalization to be used to personate himself; or (d)having been deprived of his Sudanese nationality under section 13 fails, upon being so demanded by the Minister, to surrender his certificate of naturalization; shall be guilty of an offence, and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or to fine or to both. 20. Regulations
The Minister may make regulations generally for carrying into effect the provisions and purposes of this Act, and in particular may by such regulations provide for - (a)the forms to be used and the registers to be maintained under this Act; (b)the administration and taking of oaths of allegiance under this Act, and the manner in which such oaths shall be taken and recorded; (c)the payment of fees in respect of any registration, the making of any declaration or the grant of any certificate authorised to be made or granted by this Act, and in respect of the administration or registration of an oath; (d)the procedure to be followed by followed by the committee of inquiry appointed under appointed under section 13. THE SCHEDULE (See section 8 (2)) Oath of Allegiance
{………….do hereby swear by the Almighty God (or do solemnly affirm) that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Sudan as by law established and that I will faithfully observe the Laws of the Sudan and full my duties as a Sudanese citizen. Endnotes
[1] 1959 Act No.66; 1972 Act No.47.
[2] 1970 Act No55.
[3] Ibid.
[4] 1970 Act No.55.
[5] 1970 Act No.65.
[6] 1970 Act No.55.
[7] 1959 Act No.55; 1970 Act No.55; 1972 Act No.48; 1973 Act No.11.
[8] 1970 Act No.55.
[9] 1970 Act No.33.
[10] 1959 Act No66, 1970 Act No
[11] 1963 Act No 40; 1973 Act No.11; 1974 Act No.40.
[12] 1959 Act No.66; 1973 Act No.11.
[13] 1973 Act No.11.
[14] 1973 Act No.11; 1974 Act No.40.
[15] 1973 Act No.11; 1974 Act No.40.
5: Dr. Curtis Francis Doebbler v. Sudan, Communication No. 235/2000, African
Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.

Summary of Facts:
1. The Complainant alleges that in September 1999, the government of Sudan signed an agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to invoke the cessation clause (Article 1(c) (5) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees after 1 March 2000. 2. The Complainant alleges that by this agreement, Ethiopian refugees in Sudan will lose their right to work or receive any social assistance as a way of coercing them into forced repatriation. Such a policy will lead to inhuman, degrading and life-threatening situations. 3. The Complainant claims that the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees in Sudan has confirmed the above facts. Complaint
4. The Complainant alleges likely violations of Articles 4, 5, 6, 12(3), (4) and (5) of the Charter. Procedure
5. The Complainant was received at the Secretariat on 22 February 2000. 6. At the 27th ordinary session held in Algeria, parties appeared before the Commission and addressed it orally. The Commission thereafter examined the case and decided to be seized of it. In addition, the Commission decided to consolidate it with other communications pending against the Republic of Sudan and requested parties to address it on the issue of exhaustion of domestic remedies. 7. The above decision was communicated to parties on 30 June 2000. 8. On 6 September 2000, the Secretariat received an email from Counsel to the Complainant, on his sabbatical in Egypt informing it that he was yet to hear from it regarding the decision of the Commission at the 27th ordinary session. 9. On 7 September 2000, the Secretariat of the Commission replied the Complainant attaching its previous letter. It also observed among other things that the Complainant had provided it with at least three email addresses and suggesting to him to indicate the most suitable one for future communications. A copy of the letter was also dispatched to his three email addresses. 10. On 11 September 2000, a copy of the letter of 30th June 2000 was again sent to him by fax. 11. On 14 September 2000, the Secretariat received an email from the Complainant acknowledging receipt of the fax of 11 September 2000, but requesting for the postponement of the case to April 2001 to enable him submit a full brief on the issue of exhaustion of local remedies. 12. On 13th March 2001, the Secretariat has received the Complainant’s submission. At the 29th Ordinary Session, the Commission will hear evidence on exhaustion of local remedies and will then decide on admissibility. 13. At the 29th Ordinary session held in Tripoli, the Rapporteur reviewed the facts of the case. The representatives of the Respondent State present at the session informed the Commission that they were not aware of these complaints. The Commission decided that the communications be deferred to the next session. 14. During its 29th session, the Secretariat gave copies of the communications 235/00 and 236/00 Curtis Doebler / Sudan to the representatives of the Respondent State. 15. On 19th June 2001, the Secretariat of the African Commission informed the parties on the decision of the Commission and requested Respondent State to forward its written submissions within two (2) months from the date of notification of this decision. 16. On 14th August 2001, a reminder was sent to the Respondent State to forward its submissions within the prescribed time to enable the Secretariat to proceed with the communication. 17. During the 30th Session, the rapporteurs introduced the communications and reviewed the facts and the status of each case. The Commission thereafter heard the oral submission of the Respondent State to the case. Following detailed discussions, the Commission noted that the Respondent State did not respond to the questions raised by the Complainant. The Commission also heard oral submissions by Dr. Curtis Doebbler and recommended that consideration of these communications be deferred to the 31st Session, pending detailed written submission by the Respondent State to the submissions of the Complainant. 18. On 15th November 2002, the Secretariat of the African Commission informed the parties on the decision of the Commission and requested Respondent State to forward its written submissions within two (2) months from the date of notification of this decision. 19. On 7th March 2002, a reminder was sent to the Respondent State to forward its submissions within the prescribed time to enable the Secretariat to proceed with the communication. Complainant’s observation
20. The Complainant alleges that no adequate remedies exist against the government’s threat to forcibly repatriate the Ethiopian refugees as the petitioners have been denied the right to a legal representation at hearings concerning the determination of whether they would be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment upon return to Ethiopia. 21. He declares that the government had refused to apply the OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa to which it was a party. 22. He adds that visa was denied to the legal representative of the petitioners. By failing to ensure that petitioners were given a fair hearing in which their lawyers in matters concerning their human rights under the Charter represented them, the government of Sudan denied petitioners the right to local effective remedies. 23. The Complainant requests therefore that the communication be declared admissible. State Party’s Response
24. In his written observations, the delegate of the Respondent State states that in September 1999, the High Commission for Refugees announced the application of the separation clause for all the Ethiopian refugees throughout the world, including Sudan, a principle applicable with effect from 1st March 2000. 25. Though it was not party to this decision and having ratified no convention in this regard, Sudan co-operated with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and endeavoured to deal with this question progressively. A trilateral convention between Sudan, the High Commissioner for Refugees and the Government of Ethiopia was signed in August 2000, enabling those who want to return to their country before the application of the separation clause so as to avoid the negative effects of this decision. More than 10,000 refugees have voluntarily returned to their country. 26. The above-mentioned trilateral convention that was signed in Addis Ababa in August 2000 provides that the Governments of Sudan and Ethiopia will deal with special cases. The remaining category of refugees will be governed by the principles of immigration. No refugee will be wronged as long as law will govern the handling of this issue.

Source: http://www.swrtc.ca/docs/Situation%20of%20IDPs%20and%20Refugees%20in%20Northern%20Sudan.pdf.pdf

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