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Sudan’s parliament reinstates nationality to people of South Sudanese origin

June 10, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese parliament Sunday approved some amendments of the nationality law aimed to reinstate Sudanese citizenship to people of South Sudanese origin who were stripped of their nationality after South Sudan independence 2011.

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National Assembly building in Omdurman

Following the declaration of South Sudan independence, the Nationality Act of 1994 had been amended in a way to automatically revoke Sudanese nationality of any person who "has acquired, de jure or de facto, the nationality of South Sudan".

Accordingly, in 2011 the government stripped the nationality of thousands of people because their fathers are of South Sudanese origin even if their mothers are Sudanese. Also, the Sudanese authorities revoked the citizenship of Sudanese who are of South Sudanese origin but are settled in the North for decades or born there and have few ties to South Sudan.

On Sunday 10 June, the National Assembly approved, in the second reading, the amendments of the nationality act dealing with the situation of these categories of Sudanese who have South Sudanese origins.

The head of the specialized committee al-Hadi Adam said the amendments come within the framework of correcting the situation of those who are from Sudanese mothers and pointing that the new text grants them the right to the nationality by birth.

He added the law also aims to address the situation of Sudanese of South Sudanese origin but settled in Sudan for decades.

Further, several MPs underlined that the endorsed amendments intend to remove the contradictions between the amendments of 2011 and the Sudanese constitution of 2005.

Lawyers and activists insisted during the past years that the constitution of 2005 provides that every person born to a Sudanese mother or father has "indispensable right to Sudanese nationality", while the government in its zealous interpretation of the 2011 amendments revoked the nationality of every Sudanese whose father is from South Sudan.

On 9 July 2017, the Supreme Court stated that the ministry of interior violated the law and misused his powers when it strips the nationality of a Sudanese by his mother and ordered the ministry of interior to issue the Sudanese nationality by birth to the applicant.

"Such right cannot be deprived by a law in contradiction to the provisions of the constitution or a legal opinion from the Ministry of Justice in violation to the constitutional rules," said the court.