Sudanese in Uganda accuse embassy of selective issuance of passports

The Sudanese Embassy in Uganda has been accused of declining to renew the passports of a section of Sudanese nationals based on their tribal alienation.

The Sudanese Embassy in Uganda has been accused of declining to renew the passports of a section of Sudanese nationals based on their tribal alienation.

Osman Mokhtar Mohammedi, one of the Sudanese refugees in Uganda whose origins trace back to Arab tribes in Darfur, told Radio Tamazuj that he travelled to Kampala, Uganda, because of the ongoing war in his country, Sudan.

However, he said he was surprised when his passport renewal application was rejected “based on his place of origin.”

Osman said, “I learned that a team from the passport police was present at the Sudanese Embassy to issue and renew identification documents for Sudanese in Uganda through the embassy’s website. I indeed submitted a request to renew my passport, like others who lost their documents due to the war or whose passport validity expired.”

He vividly recalled that on April 24th, he was scheduled for an interview with the passport police team at the Sudanese Embassy. After starting the renewal procedures, he was surprised when the responsible officer informed him that he was prohibited from the process and that they would not be able to renew his passport.

“When I inquired about the reason, the officer replied that I am banned by a ministerial decision numbered 54 for the year 2024, adding that the issue can only be addressed in Port Sudan.” 

Osman said he was puzzled by the officer’s suggestion that he send someone to Port Sudan to inquire and follow up on when the ban would be lifted.

He further stated, “The officer attributed the ban to my affiliation with a tribe classified as one of the breeding grounds for the Rapid Support Forces.”

Osman described what happened to him as “a violation of his rights” of a Sudanese citizen through the restriction of his movement and identity. 

He urged the Sudanese authorities to review the decision, which he said was unjust to individuals from some regions.

Another Sudanese citizen, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Radio Tamazuj that he had gone to the embassy to extend the validity of his passport. So, he approached the civil registry team responsible for issuing identification documents at the embassy, but the officers refused to extend the validity after discovering that he is from East Darfur State. 

He added, “All my attempts over the past week have failed, despite some interventions from other people, they refused to extend the passport validity.”

In a press release, the Darfur Lawyers Association confirmed that they received several reports from Sudanese from various ethnicities in Sudanese regions about violations committed against them by the Sudanese passport authorities in Uganda.

The association heard the testimony of Osman Mokhtar Mohammedi, who confirmed that he was banned under Ministerial Decision No. 54 for 2024 due to his affiliation with one of the tribes in Darfur.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement, denied the claims, saying, “The allegations that some people have been denied passports based on their tribal origins and affiliation with the Rapid Support Forces are baseless.”

The Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been engaged in a war since last April that has resulted in 15,000 deaths and more than 8 million displaced and refugees, according to the UN.

Since the start of the civil war, thousands of homes, schools, hospitals, and other vital civilian structures have been destroyed, plunging the country into a severe humanitarian crisis and creating the world’s largest displacement crisis.