January 6, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese national assembly on Monday approved the report of the Joint Subcommittee on Foreign Affairs, National Security & Defense on the 2013 asylum law.
- Refugees wait to be registered at Shagarab refugee camp in eastern Sudan, often the first point of entry for Eritreans fleeing oppression in their homeland (UNHCR)
The subcommittee chairman Mohamed al-Hassan al-Amin said that the interior minister is now entitled to grant asylum to individuals should there be information available on their country of origin or if it is not possible to determine refugee status individually.
Al-Amin said that the draft law is in line with the provisions of international and regional conventions ratified by Sudan, pointing out that the law aims to regulate the situation of refugees in the country.
The parliament speaker al-Fatih Izz al-Deen further said that the law would help prevent human trafficking.
The Sudan refugee commissioner Hamad al-Juzooli noted that the last version of the asylum law dates back to 1994 adding that the new law is now updated to incorporate changes since then.
Sudan’s state minister for interior Babiker Digna said that refugees in Darfur, East Sudan and Khartoum are issued ID cards to be aware of their whereabouts in the events of crimes.
Lawmakers were divided on the issue of whether refugees should be granted the rights of citizens in owning a residence, education, and practicing religion.
Some called for imposing a jail term of up to five years or a fine or both and confiscation of the means of transport for those found to be involved in the transfer of refugees from the camps into the city without obtaining permission.