Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

UNHCR's Position on the Return of Rejected Asylum Seekers to Sudan

Publisher UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Author Africa Bureau
Publication Date November 2001
Cite as UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), UNHCR's Position on the Return of Rejected Asylum Seekers to Sudan, November 2001, available at: [accessed 27 May 2016]

With regard to return of rejected asylum seekers to Sudan, whether such return can take place would have to be assessed with reference to the particular context and depending on the ethnic and religious affiliation of the individual concerned as well as his or her area of origin. All this bearing in mind the civil war in Southern Sudan, which has been raging since 1983 and shows no sign of abating.

This risk is exacerbated by the existence of an administrative decree of 28 February 1993 issued to border entry points, which authorises the arrest of all returning Sudanese who left after the June 1989 coup and who have been away for more than a year.  Such individuals are, according to the decree, subject to "investigations" and "necessary security measures".  The practice of interrogation upon return to Sudan after an absence of one year or more is, however, not applied systematically. Currently, interrogation of returning Sudanese is practised selectively and much would depend on the profile of the individual returning. 

The national assembly passed the new Security Act in July 1999, which allows the security forces to detain only for a period of three days for the sake of investigation. Although it is difficult to assess whether the new Security Act is being implemented after a long period in which the security forces wielded considerable power, it is highly unlikely that detainees are released after detention of three days only because of the insufficient grounds to detain them longer. Also, many suspected political opponents are made to report to security offices on a daily basis where they have to stay all day.

Therefore, it is essential that the emphasis be placed on judging each case individually with reference to the particular context of a case, including ethnic and religious affiliations as well as areas of origin. Also it should be mentioned that return of rejected cases would most likely be to Khartoum, from where they might not have originated. In this context, rejected Sudanese asylum seekers, especially those from the South, would be likely to end up in one of the IDP camps with very poor living conditions and limited economic opportunities. 


DIP/Africa Bureau

November 2001

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