Sudan should not strip citizenship arbitrarily from those of Southern heritage
March 5, 2012 § Leave a comment
“Although large numbers of southerners returned to South Sudan before and after the country gained its independence on July 9, 2011, an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 people of southern origin still live in Sudan. Many fled the long civil war in the south and have lived in Sudan for decades, or were born there and have few ties to South Sudan.
Under Sudanese law, which was amended following South Sudan’s independence, Sudanese people automatically lose citizenship when they acquire “de jure or de facto” the “nationality of South Sudan.” The law does not state how someone can acquire this nationality de facto or how authorities should determine whether they have acquired it.
South Sudan’s nationality law says people with “any parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents” born in South Sudan, or who belong to any southern ethnic group, are eligible for nationality. Statements and actions of Sudanese government officials indicate that they are reading these laws to mean that anyone living in Sudan with even one great-grandparent born in South Sudan will lose their Sudanese citizenship, irrespective of whether they have acquired – or want to acquire – South Sudanese citizenship….
People who are eligible for South Sudanese citizenship but who have spent all or a substantial part of their lives in Sudan have interests based on family ties or other personal, social, cultural, and economic relations that need to be protected, Human Rights Watch said. Arbitrarily stripping them of their citizenship, especially in cases where this results in statelessness, violates human rights standards.”