An official website of the United States Government Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Singapore

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The constitution and the law provide for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights, although it limited them in certain circumstances. The government cooperated with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to asylum seekers and other persons of concern.

In-country Movement: The ISA permits authorities to restrict a person’s movement, and they did so in the case of some former ISA detainees. According to government sources, 21 suspected terrorists were subject to such restrictions in 2014.

Foreign Travel: The government may refuse to issue a passport, primarily on security grounds.

Men are required to undertake 24 months of uniformed national service upon reaching age 18. They also are required to participate in reserve training up to age 40 (for enlisted men) or 50 (for officers). Male citizens and permanent residents with national service reserve obligations are required to advise the Ministry of Defense of plans to travel abroad. Men and boys age 13 years and older who have not completed national service obligations are required to obtain exit permits for international travel if they intend to be away for three months or more. To obtain the required permit, a prospective traveler must in certain cases post a bond equal to S$75,000 ($54,000) or 50 percent of the combined gross annual income of both parents for the preceding year, whichever is greater. The bond requirement applies to male travelers that are 16 and one-half years of age and older for travel exceeding three months and to male travelers who are 13 to 16 and one-half years of age for travel lasting two or more years.

Emigration and Repatriation: The law allows for loss of citizenship by citizens who reside outside the country for more than 10 consecutive years; however, there were no known instances of the law being applied.

Former members of the Communist Party of Malaya residing outside the country may not repatriate unless they renounce communism, sever all links with the party, and agree to be interviewed by the Internal Security Department about their past activities. Some former party cadres accepted these conditions and returned in the past, but observers estimated that approximately 30 alleged party members had not.

PROTECTION OF REFUGEES

Access to Asylum: The law does not provide for the granting of asylum or refugee status, although the government may, on compassionate grounds and in cooperation with organizations such as UNHCR, provide assistance to refugees on a case-by-case basis.

Somalia

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The provisional federal constitution states that all persons lawfully residing in the country have the right to freedom of movement, to choose their residence, and to leave the country. Freedom of movement, however, was restricted in some areas.

Abuse of Migrants, Refugees, and Stateless Persons: Refugees lacked access to protection through law enforcement and the justice system. Refugees reported incidents of extortion, robbery, and sexual violence to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The government and Somaliland authorities cooperated with UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to assist IDPs, refugees, returning refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and other persons of concern.

During the year dialogue continued between humanitarian agencies, the FGS, and regional authorities to remove checkpoints and facilitate movement of humanitarian assistance, food aid, and essential commodities.

In-country Movement: Checkpoints operated by government forces, allied groups, armed militias, clan factions, and al-Shabaab inhibited movement and exposed citizens to looting, extortion, harassment, and violence. Roadblocks manned by armed actors and attacks on humanitarian personnel severely restricted movement and the delivery of aid in southern and central sectors of the country.

Al-Shabaab and other nonstate armed actors continued to ban commercial activities in the areas they controlled in the Bakool, Bay, Gedo, and Hiraan Regions and impeded the delivery of humanitarian assistance. For example, on June 19, armed men attacked and looted a truck convoy contracted by a humanitarian agency to deliver food aid and supplies in the Bakool Region and destroyed the vehicles.

Attacks against humanitarian workers and assets impeded the delivery of aid to vulnerable populations. During the first seven months of the year, there were more than 90 violent incidents targeting humanitarian agencies, as a result of which seven humanitarian workers were killed and eight injured, 10 were arrested, three abducted, and five assaulted while in detention. On July 26, a UNHCR staff member, 13 UNHCR employees, and 11 security personnel were killed during an al-Shabaab attack on the UNHCR compound in Mogadishu.

Somaliland prohibited federal officials, including those of Somaliland origin who purported to represent Hargeisa’s interests in Mogadishu, from entering Somaliland. It also prevented its citizens from traveling to Mogadishu to participate in FGS processes or in cultural activities.

IGA officials denied entry to Puntland residents and continued to arrest drivers with Puntland license plates. The practice began in January 2015, when the former Galmudug traffic supervisor announced that drivers of vehicles with Puntland plates would be fined, arrested, and detained for 24 hours.

Puntland authorities continued to ban the transport of goods by road from the port of Berbera in Somaliland to towns in Puntland, including Garowe and Galkayo. The ban limited the ability of aid workers to deliver humanitarian supplies, such as food, livestock vaccination equipment, nutritional supplements, and education materials, to vulnerable populations in Puntland.

Foreign Travel: Few citizens had the means to obtain passports. In view of widespread passport fraud, many foreign governments did not recognize Somali passports as valid travel documents.

INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS

Conflict, including fighting between clan militias in the Lower Shabelle, Galmudug, and Hiraan regions, and drought resulted in more than 1.1 million IDPs, primarily in the southern and central regions; nearly 400,000 IDPs were located in Mogadishu.

Forced deportations from Saudi Arabia continued during the year; approximately 85,000 Somalis have been forcibly repatriated from Saudi Arabia since 2013. Many returnees were unable to return to their places of origin and became IDPs.

Somalis and citizens from other countries fleeing the conflict in Yemen sought refuge in Somalia. While flows from Yemen have declined since August 2015, more than 33,500 individuals have fled to Somalia since March 2015. This included more than 28,800 Somali nationals, 4,500 Yemeni refugees, and approximately 300 migrants of other nationalities. UNHCR protected IDPs and provided them with temporary lodging and financial assistance. Since March 2015 the IOM has assisted more than 10,500 arrivals with onward transportation to their final destinations; the majority traveled to Mogadishu.

Government and regional authorities provided negligible protection and assistance to IDPs and sometimes actively participated in their displacement. Private persons with claims to land and government authorities, for example, regularly pursued the forceful eviction of IDPs in Mogadishu. Some IDPs and humanitarian agencies criticized local authorities for tacitly endorsing the forceful relocation of IDPs to insecure areas in Mogadishu. Somali authorities did not prevent the forced displacement of persons from shelters to camps on the outskirts of the city.

From January to August, authorities forcibly evicted approximately 91,000 persons, mostly IDPs; more than 78,000 were relocated to the south central part of the country, primarily Mogadishu. Insecure land tenure and limited land title verification contributed to the scale of forced evictions.

An April 2015 a Human Rights Watch report alleged that Somali national police, NISA forces, and city council police forcibly evicted an estimated 21,000 displaced persons in Mogadishu during March. The report claimed Somali authorities beat some of those evicted, destroyed their shelters, and left them without water, food, or other assistance. According to the report, authorities failed to provide adequate notification and compensation to the communities facing eviction and did not provide viable relocation or local integration options as required by international law. The report claimed that none of the evicted persons interviewed for the report had seen an official written eviction order, and most were unaware of the planned evictions.

Government forces and aligned militia looted and collaborated in the diversion of humanitarian aid from intended beneficiaries in Mogadishu. Most international aid organizations previously evacuated their staff or halted food distribution and other aid-related activities in al-Shabaab-controlled areas due to continued killings, extortion, threats, and harassment.

Government forces, allied militias, men wearing uniforms, and AMISOM troops committed sexual violence, including rape of IDPs in and around Mogadishu. Many of the victims were children. Women and children living in IDP settlements were particularly vulnerable to rape by armed men, including government soldiers and militia members. Gatekeepers in control of some IDP camps reportedly forced girls and women to provide sex in exchange for food and services within the camps.

PROTECTION OF REFUGEES

Access to Asylum: The provisional federal constitution states that every person who has sought refuge in the country has the right not to be returned or taken to any country in which that person has a well-founded fear of persecution. There was no official system for providing such protection.

Somaliland continued to register asylum seekers with the assistance of UNHCR. The Somaliland Ministry of Rehabilitation, Resettlement, and Reconstruction had only limited resources and registered fewer than 1,000 new arrivals and asylum seekers during the year. In some instances the Somaliland government refused to register Ethiopians and Eritreans as asylum seekers. Some Yemenis with Somali origins were classified as returnees instead of refugees, shifting the costs associated with resettlement from UNHCR to the government of Somaliland.

Employment: Employment opportunities were limited for refugees, Somali returnees, and other vulnerable populations. Refugee returnees from Kenya reported limited employment opportunities in areas of return in the southern and central sections of the country.

Access to Basic Services: The FGS continued to work with the international community to improve access to basic services, employment, and durable solutions for displaced populations.

On August 29, the IJA began blocking all voluntary refugee returns from Kenya, attributing the decision to a lack of available services and livelihoods for returnees.

Refugees and Somali returnees had limited access to basic services. Poor refugee reception services in Somaliland resulted in some refugees reportedly returning to Yemen despite continuing conflict.

South Sudan

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The transitional constitution provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, and repatriation. The government, however, often restricted these rights, and routinely blocked travel of political figures within the country and outside the country. The transitional constitution does not address emigration.

Abuse of Migrants, Refugees, and Stateless Persons: Refugees sometimes suffered abuse, such as armed attacks, killings, gender-based violence, forced recruitment, including of children, and forced labor, according to the UN High Commission for Refugees.

In-country Movement: IDPs remained on UNMISS PoC sites due to fear of retaliatory or ethnically targeted violence by armed groups, both government- and opposition-affiliated. The government often obstructed humanitarian organizations seeking to provide protection and assistance to IDPs and refugees. Continuing conflict between government and opposition forces restricted the movement of UN personnel and the delivery of humanitarian aid (see section 1.g.).

Emigration and Repatriation: The 2012 Cooperation Agreements signed by the governments of Sudan and South Sudan cover security, economic, and other matters, including an agreement to protect freedoms of residence, movement, economic activity, and property ownership for citizens of both countries residing in Sudan or South Sudan. Although negotiating parties made progress in October 2015 in Addis Ababa on border issues, the governments failed to make substantial progress on aspects of the agreement relating to each other’s nationals.

Citizenship: During the year, the government revoked the diplomatic and official passports of some SPLA-IO representatives abroad whom they deemed enemies of the state; however, there were no reports the government revoked citizenship for political reasons.

INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS

In mid-year, conflict in the country intensified and spread to areas previously less affected by fighting. The result was mass population displacement, both within the country and into neighboring countries, and high levels of humanitarian and protection needs, which strained the ability of UN and international humanitarian personnel to provide protection and assistance. According to OCHA, conflict and food insecurity have displaced more than 1.8 million persons since December 2013, including more than 79,200 in and around Western Bahr el Ghazal State’s Wau town, and more than 1.2 million in remote areas of conflict-affected Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile states. Approximately 224,100 persons were sheltering in UNMISS PoC sites throughout the country as of December 12, an increase from the 193,800 sheltering in PoC sites at the end of 2015. The increased violence and food insecurity forced relief actors to delay plans for the safe return and relocation of some IDP populations.

On July 8, fighting broke out in Juba that killed hundreds of persons and newly displaced as many as 42,000 persons; nearly 39,000, both newly and previously displaced, remained in the town’s UNMISS PoC sites at year’s end. A July 11 ceasefire calmed active fighting in Juba, but reports of armed elements kidnapping and raping women outside the PoC sites increased. Relief workers recorded more than 100 cases of sexual and gender-based violence in the city in July, and noted the number was likely much higher due to underreporting.

The July violence spread from Juba to the Greater Equatoria region of Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, and Western Equatoria states, an area traditionally less conflict prone. Nearly 426,000 persons were displaced in the region as of October 31, and many fled the country. In addition fighting in Unity state’s Leer County escalated in July, resulting in further population displacements within the state and to neighboring countries. As of December 5, approximately 1 million citizens had sought refuge in neighboring countries, including nearly 371,000 who fled to Uganda after July 1.

IDPs suffered significant abuses, such as armed attacks, killings, ethnically targeted violence, arbitrary detention, gender-based violence, and recruitment of child soldiers. Both government and opposition forces targeted IDPs.

PROTECTION OF REFUGEES

Access to Asylum: The South Sudan Refugee Act provides for protection of refugees as well as the granting of asylum and refugee status. The government allowed refugees from a variety of countries to settle and generally did not treat refugees differently from other foreigners.

Access to Basic Services: While refugees sometimes lacked basic services, this generally reflected a lack of capacity in the country to manage refugee problems rather than government practices that discriminated against refugees. Refugee children had access to elementary education in refugee camps through programs managed by international NGOs and the United Nations. Some schools were shared with children from the host community. Refugees had access to judiciary services in principle, although a lack of infrastructure and staff meant these resources were often unavailable.

Due to continuing conflict and scarcity of resources, some tension existed between refugees and host communities over access to resources.

Durable Solutions: The government accepted refugees and returnees for resettlement, although it did not publish a national strategy for facilitating integration or reintegration into local communities. No national procedures were in place to facilitate the provision of identity documents for returnees or the naturalization of refugees beyond procedures that were in place for all citizens and other applicants.

STATELESS PERSONS

Citizenship is derived through birth if a person has a South Sudanese parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent on either the mother’s or the father’s side, or if a person is a member of one of the country’s indigenous ethnic communities. Individuals also may derive citizenship through naturalization. Birth in the country is not sufficient to claim citizenship.

Sudan

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The Interim National Constitution and law provide for freedom of movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, but the government restricted these rights for foreigners, including humanitarian workers.

The government impeded the work of UN agencies and delayed full approval of their activities throughout the country, particularly in the Two Areas. NGOs also alleged the government impeded humanitarian assistance in the Two Areas.

Abuse of Migrants, Refugees, and Stateless Persons: Asylum seekers and refugees were vulnerable to arbitrary arrest and harassment outside of camps because they did not receive identification cards while awaiting government determination of refugee or asylum status. Refugees and asylum seekers in urban areas were also subject to arrest because the government’s encampment policy makes it illegal to move from assigned camps without authorization. On average 150-200 refugees and asylum seekers were detained in Khartoum each month and assisted with legal aid by the joint UNHCR and commissioner for refugees legal team. Although the Asylum Act makes naturalization possible for refugees, it was not fully implemented.

There were some reported abuses, including gender-based violence, in the camps. The government worked closely with UNHCR to provide greater protection to refugees. There were government impediments relating to access to refugees, including delay or denial of travel permits and visa approvals.

According to human rights advocates, the delay in granting legal status was partly the reason some new refugees left the camps before registering with UNHCR. Refugees often relied on human trafficking and smuggling networks to leave camps. Traffickers routinely abused and tortured refugees if ransoms were not paid.

See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.

In-country Movement: The government and rebels restricted the movement of citizens as well as UN and humanitarian organization personnel in conflict areas (see section 1.g.). While the government claimed refugees had freedom of movement within the country, it required they formally register and be granted travel permits before leaving refugee camps. According to authorities, registration of refugees helped provide their personal security. Refugees faced administrative fines once they returned to their camp, if they left camps without permission and were intercepted by authorities.

Internal movement was generally unhindered for citizens outside conflict areas. Foreigners needed travel permits for domestic travel outside Khartoum, which were often difficult to obtain. Foreigners were required to register with the Ministry of Interior’s Alien Control Division within three days of arrival and were limited to a 15.5-mile radius from Khartoum. Once registered, foreigners were allowed to move beyond this radius, but travel outside of Khartoum State required official approval.

The government delayed issuing humanitarian visas to UN and NGO staff and generally denied access to conflict areas, with some exceptions made for Darfur IDP camps. The government also delayed issuing travel permits to nonconflict areas.

The country maintained a reservation on Article 26 of the UN Convention on Refugees of 1951 regarding refugees’ right to move freely and choose their place of residence within a country. The government’s encampment policy requires asylum seekers and refugees to stay in designated camps. The government allowed for the establishment of two camps for South Sudanese refugees in East Darfur. The government increasingly referred to “holding sites” in White Nile as refugee camps.

Foreign Travel: The government requires citizens to obtain an exit visa if they wish to depart the country. Issuance was usually without complication, but the government continued to use the visa requirement to restrict some citizens’ travel, especially persons of political or security interest. To obtain an exit visa, children must receive the permission of both parents.

In March, five civil society representatives (Faisal Mohamed Salih, Siddig Yousif, Muawia Shaddad, Sawasan Alshoaya, and Salih Mahmoud) were stopped by plainclothes security officials at Khartoum International Airport traveling to Geneva, where they were to participate in UN presession meetings of the universal periodic review (UPR) for Sudan. Their passports were confiscated, and they were told to report to NISS headquarters for further information to reclaim them, thereby preventing them from attending the Geneva meetings.

On November 19, NISS agents again prevented Siddig Yousif of the Solidarity Committee from traveling to Geneva to participate in civil society/political meetings. According to Yousif, this incident was the fifth time within two years that NISS imposed a travel ban on him.

Exile: The government observed the law prohibiting forced exile. It warned political opponents of their potential arrest, however, if they returned. Opposition leaders and NGO activists remained in self-imposed exile in northern Africa and Europe; other activists fled the country during the year. In September 2015 a presidential decree granted general amnesty for opposition members and rebel leaders living abroad who agreed to return to Sudan to participate in the national dialogue. As of year’s end, prominent opposition members had not returned to the country under the amnesty, some expressing concern about their civic and political rights even with the amnesty (see section 1.d.).

INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS

Large-scale displacement continued to be a severe problem in Darfur and the Two Areas, and government restrictions and security constraints continued to limit access to affected populations and impeded the delivery of humanitarian services.

According to the United Nations and partners, during the first 11 months of the year, an estimated 97,500 persons were reported newly displaced across Darfur. Up to an additional 88,775 persons were also reported displaced, but the United Nations reported its inability to verify these figures due to lack of access to the relevant locations. In addition, approximately 38,150 persons reportedly returned, of which 25,564 (in Golo) were verified by the WFP. UN OCHA reported the vast majority of the displacement during the year was triggered by the conflict in the Jebel Marra area, which ignited in January. The United Nations and partners reported during the year through December, 3,026 individuals were newly displaced in Southern and Western Kordofan and Blue Nile, although the number was largely unknown due to lack of access to those areas. Other reports placed the number of displaced at 12,468. Many IDPs faced chronic food shortages and inadequate medical care. Significant numbers of farmers were prevented from planting their fields due to the conflict, leading to near-famine conditions in parts of Southern Kordofan. The government and the SPLM-N continued to deny access to humanitarian actors and UN agencies in areas controlled by the SPLM-N; these areas contained approximately 800,000 of the IDPs and severely affected persons in 2015. UN agencies could provide no estimates citing lack of access as a hindrance.

Government restrictions, harassment, and the threat of expulsion resulted in continued interruption of gender-based violence programming. Reporting and outreach were limited (see section 5). Some UN agencies were able to work with the Darfur governor’s advisers on women and children to raise awareness of gender-based violence and response efforts.

There were numerous reports of abuse committed by government security forces, rebels, and armed groups against IDPs in Darfur, including rapes and beatings (see section 1.g.).

Outside IDP camps and towns, insecurity restricted freedom of movement, and women and girls who left the towns and camps risked sexual violence. Insecurity within IDP camps also was a problem. The government provided little assistance or protection to IDPs in Darfur. Most IDP camps had no functioning police force. International observers noted criminal gangs aligned with rebel groups operated openly in several IDP camps.

As in previous years, the government did not establish formal IDP or refugee camps in Khartoum or the Two Areas, and UNHCR did not make any formal requests to establish such new camps during the year.

The United Nations did not have a presence in SPLM-N-controlled areas and was unable to assess the scope of civilian displacement in the area.

PROTECTION OF REFUGEES

As of November UNHCR reported approximately 403,000 refugees and asylum seekers in the country, including 106,000 Eritreans, 15,000 Ethiopians, and 8,000 Chadians. Unlike in previous years, Chadian population numbers considered only those in camps, and not those spontaneously settled along the border and among the population. As of November more than 262,000 South Sudanese had arrived in the country since fighting erupted in December 2013, including a new influx in East Darfur.

New Eritrean refugees entering eastern Sudan often stayed in camps for two to three months before moving to Khartoum, other parts of the country, or on to Libya in an effort to reach Europe. The government continued to restrict access in eastern Sudan for international humanitarian NGOs, as it did throughout the country.

According to UNHCR, the government hosted approximately 67,000 refugees in Khartoum as of October.

From January to June, an estimated 7,500 persons fled Southern Kordofan to become refugees in South Sudan, nearly 3,000 of whom arrived in May alone. Nearly 90 percent were women and children, with one child in 10 arriving alone or without a family member.

As of November UNHCR estimated 350,000 persons of South Sudanese origin remained in the country following South Sudan’s independence in 2011. Approximately 250,000 of them lived in Khartoum, many integrated into the urban population. An estimated 40,000 lived in shantytowns, informal settlements known as “open areas” until August. The government did not officially recognize this population as refugees or IDPs and restricted access to these areas by humanitarian organizations. Many open areas lacked basic services such as water, electricity, and sewage systems. In August authorities relocated more than 6,000 South Sudanese from three open areas in Ombeda locality to a new site in Nivasha. UNHCR, which was not informed in advance about the relocation, expressed concern over how the relocation was carried out. Access to basic services in the new site remained limited.

UNHCR reported 40,000 persons of South Sudanese origin who had remained in the country following South Sudan’s independence had obtained nationality documents from the South Sudan Consulate in Khartoum as of December. The governments of Sudan and South Sudan signed a framework agreement (known as the “four freedoms” agreement) as part of a broader bilateral agreement in 2012 which provides for citizens of both states to enjoy freedom of residence, movement, economic activity, and property ownership, but it was not fully implemented during the year.

The government did not recognize individuals fleeing from South Sudan as refugees under the 1951 Refugee Convention but essentially treated them as such under the Arab/Islamic regime of asylum following December 2013 fighting in South Sudan, and it allowed some national and international organizations to assist them. In 2014 UNHCR and the Ministry of Interior’s Commission for Refugees and Directorate General of Passports and Immigration signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the registration and documentation of approximately 500,000 South Sudanese in Sudan, including those that fled the conflict in South Sudan in December 2013.

On March 17, the government directed that South Sudanese were to be treated as foreigners. In April UNHCR reported on the arrests of 189 South Sudanese refugees mostly around the Alsog al-Markazee area in Khartoum for alleged lack of documentation or nonrecognition of the documents issued by the Department of Passports and Immigration Police. The individuals incurred fines of approximately 1,112 SDG ($167). The government released approximately 300 South Sudanese following intervention by UNHCR, but many remained in detention, per UNHCR reports. UNHCR successfully challenged convictions based on nonrecognition of the Immigration Police-issued documents before the Fourth Circuit of the Supreme Court.

On September 1, UNHCR and the Office of the Commission for Refugees signed a MOU designed to regulate how the two entities would manage South Sudanese refugees. UNHCR noted that although the government desired to distinguish among South Sudanese refugees based on refugees’ date of arrival in the country, the agreement itself contains no such distinctions. In December the government allegedly confirmed the content of the MOU, lifting the previous position of a cut-off date based on arrival in the country.

Access to Asylum: The government generally provided first asylum/temporary protection to individuals who might not qualify as refugees. In 2014 the government adopted asylum legislation that provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status and requires asylum applications to be nominally submitted within 30 days of arrival in the country. This time stipulation was not strictly enforced. The government granted asylum to many asylum seekers, particularly from Eritrea, Syria, Somalia, and Ethiopia, but it sometimes considered individuals registered as asylum seekers or refugees in another country, mostly in Ethiopia, to be irregular movers or migrants. Government officials routinely took up to three months to approve individual refugee and asylum status, but they worked with UNHCR to implement status determination procedures in eastern Sudan and Darfur and attempted to reduce the case backlog. The law requires asylum seekers to register both as refugees with the Commission for Refugees and as foreigners with the Civil Registry (to obtain a “foreign” number).

In August security officials told reporters that 816 African migrants (and Sudanese intending to emigrate) and a group of smugglers were arrested near the country’s border with Libya between June and August. The officials said the migrants were attempting to cross into Libya with plans to proceed to Europe. Among those arrested were 347 Eritreans, 130 Ethiopians, and 90 Sudanese; the remainder were mostly Somalis. Foreign individuals were charged, convicted, and deported to their countries of origin. The status of the Sudanese who were apprehended was unknown. Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, more than 40,000 Syrians have arrived in Sudan, according to government sources, of whom 6,990 have been registered with UNHCR. The government did not require visas or residency permits for Syrians out of Arab solidarity. The Sudanese Commission for Refugees, however, restarted registration of Syrian nationals in November 2015 to better account for their number and needs.

The government waives regular entry visa requirements for Yemenis. As of November, more than 1,600 Yemeni refugees had registered in Sudan.

Refoulement: The country is a signatory to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and generally respected the international principle of nonrefoulement with a few notable exceptions. According to UNHCR incidents of refoulement decreased significantly during the year. In early May authorities arrested 377 individuals in Dongola, Northern State, as they attempted to cross the country’s northwest border into Libya. The group included 313 Eritreans and 64 Ethiopians. Six were already registered refugees within Sudan. All faced charges of illegal entry and were tried in court. On May 22, the authorities deported all Ethiopian refugees and Eritrean refugees, which included 14 children.

In February 2015 authorities in the east disclosed they followed a practice of returning “recyclers”–Eritrean asylum seekers presumed to be previously registered as refugees in Ethiopia.

With UNHCR’s intervention, authorities were trained on referral procedures to prevent refoulement, including of refugees who previously registered in other countries.

Employment: The government in principle allows refugees to work informally but rarely granted work permits (even to refugees who have obtained higher degrees in the country). In 2015 and during the year, UNHCR signed a project partnership agreement with the Commission for Refugees to issue over 1,000 work permits to selected refugees for a livelihood graduation program implemented in Kassala and Gadaref. In 2015 some refugee beneficiaries were selected, but the issuance of permits was still pending at year’s end.

Some refugees in eastern states were able to find informal work as agricultural workers or laborers in towns. Many women in camps reportedly resorted to illegal production of alcohol and were subjected to arrest and harassment by police. In urban centers the majority of refugees worked in the informal sector (for example, as tea sellers, house cleaners, and drivers), leaving them at heightened risk of arrest, exploitation, and abuse.

Temporary Protection: The government generally maintained an open border with South Sudan. The government position on the status of South Sudanese in Sudan, however, changed on multiple occasions based on improvements or contentious points in the Sudan-South Sudan relationship. Before signing a September MOU with UNHCR, which officially recognized South Sudanese in Sudan as refugees, there were statements by the government both that South Sudanese refugees fleeing conflict in their country would enjoy the same status as Sudanese citizens, and that they would be treated as foreigners when relations encountered setbacks. As of November, UNHCR estimated 263,425 individuals had crossed into the country from South Sudan since December 2013, with more than 110,000 refugees having arrived since January. The majority sought refuge in White Nile State.

Since December 2013 more than approximately 35,000 South Sudanese also traveled to Khartoum.

STATELESS PERSONS

The 1994 Nationality Act was amended in 2005 not only to apply to child with a father of Sudanese decent but also to allow a child born to a Sudanese mother to acquire Sudanese nationality by birth by following an application process. The Interim Sudanese Constitution, however, provides “every person born to a Sudanese mother or father shall have an inalienable right to enjoy Sudanese nationality and citizenship.” After the creation of the independent State of South Sudan, the Republic of Sudan amended its nationality law in 2011 but has yet to amend the relevant sections of the 1994 Act. The Interim Sudanese Constitution remains in force until Sudan adopts a permanent constitution.

Persons of South Sudanese origin who lived for many years in the Republic of Sudan were stripped of their Sudanese nationality by law, irrespective of the strength of their connections to the new state of South Sudan or Sudan and their views on which state to which they wished to belong. Other populations who risked being adversely affected included individuals with one parent from Sudan and one from South Sudan; members of cross-border ethnic groups; and persons separated from their families by war, including unaccompanied children.

Some persons of South Sudanese origin living in Sudan risked ending up stateless, without either a Sudanese or South Sudanese nationality, and losing their basic rights.

Swaziland

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The constitution provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation and the government generally respected these rights. It also states provisions of law and custom that impose restrictions on the freedom of any person to reside in the country shall not contravene the freedom granted by the constitution.

The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to refugees, asylum seekers, and other persons of concern. By traditional law and custom, chiefs have the power to decide who may reside in their chiefdoms; evictions occurred due to internal conflicts, alleged criminal activity, or opposition to the chief.

Foreign Travel: Nonethnic Swazi citizens sometimes experienced lengthy processing delays when seeking passports and citizenship documents, in part due to the country’s history of not treating mixed-race and white persons as “legitimate” citizens. In addition, political activists and their families often had difficulty obtaining passports.

PROTECTION OF REFUGEES

Access to Asylum: Laws provide for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. The government provided protection against the expulsion or return of refugees to countries where their lives or freedom would be threatened. The government cooperated with UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to refugees and asylum seekers. The country hosted an estimated 1,000 refugees, the majority from the African Great Lakes region and Somalia.

Durable Solutions: The government permanently resettled refugees in the country. It allowed some refugees to compete for jobs and granted them work permits and temporary residence permits. The government also provided refugees with free transportation twice a week to buy and sell food in local markets. Refugees who lived in the country more than five years were eligible for citizenship, but many waited longer to acquire citizenship, sometimes more than 10 years, due to bureaucratic inefficiency and onerous requirements. The government continued to implement a psychological support program that provided counseling to refugees. Refugees could visit the neighboring countries of Mozambique and South Africa with ease.

Human Rights Reports
Edit Your Custom Report

01 / Select A Year

02 / Select Sections

03 / Select Countries You can add more than one country or area.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future