Sudan: Information on the difference between the Popular Defense Force (PDF) and the regular armed forces, on the maximum age for recruitment and exemption from service, and on the consequences on return to Sudan for those who have gone abroad without completing their military service
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 July 1996|
|Citation / Document Symbol||SDN24054.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Sudan: Information on the difference between the Popular Defense Force (PDF) and the regular armed forces, on the maximum age for recruitment and exemption from service, and on the consequences on return to Sudan for those who have gone abroad without completing their military service, 1 July 1996, SDN24054.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ab5f14.html [accessed 10 December 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
For information on national military service in Sudan and the Popular Defense Force (PDF), please consult the attachment from Human Right Watch/Africa, Behind the Red Line: Political Repression in Sudan and Jane's Intelligence Review.
National military service is obligatory for all males between 18 and 33 years of age (HRW/A May 1996, 268). On occasion the army has used press-gang techniques to round up males who have not completed their military service, (ibid.). The Ministry of Health requires doctors to complete their national service before it will issue a certificate to practice medicine (ibid.). Service in units involved in the civil war is supposed to be voluntary, but some men have been sent to the front involuntarily (ibid.). The length of national service depends on the level of education attained by the recruit: university or college graduates are required to do 12 months service, high school graduates 18 months, and those without a high school diploma 24 months (ibid., 270).
The PDF is a paramilitary force under the command of the general army commander (ibid., 273). Its purpose is to train participants in civil and military defense procedures, raise security consciousness, provide discipline and to help the armed forces when required (ibid.). Men and women are eligible to join and university students and civil servants, among others, are required to participate in the PDF programme (ibid.). Although participation in the PDF is in addition to national service, the time spent undergoing PDF training can be deducted from the time required to meet national service obligations (ibid.).
The attachment from Human Rights Watch/Africa provides additional information on the terms and purpose of the national service program (268-73), and of the PDF (273-92), including information on tribe-based PDFs (274-80), PDF training (281-83) and student involvement in the PDF (284-86), as well as on the involvement of civil servants, doctors, women and tribal leaders (287-92).
The attachment from Jane's Intelligence Review states that PDF units consist of poorly trained, reluctant conscripts that "take extraordinary numbers of casualties" on the front lines of the civil war in the south (July 1996, 315).
Information on the consequences for those who return to Sudan without having completed their national service could not be found among the sources consulted by the DIRB.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Human Rights Watch/Africa (HRW/A). May 1996. Behind the Red Line: Political Repression in Sudan. New York: Human Rights Watch.
Jane's Intelligence Review [Coulsdon, Surrey, UK]. July 1996. Vol. 8, No. 7. Robert Waller. "Sudanese Security: Rogue State in Crisis."
Human Rights Watch/Africa (HRW/A). May 1996. Behind the Red Line: Political Repression in Sudan. New York: Human Rights Watch, pp. 268-92.
Jane's Intelligence Review [Coulsdon, Surrey, UK]. July 1996. Vol. 8, No. 7. Robert Waller. "Sudanese Security: Rogue State in Crisis," pp. 311-15.