Citizenship in South Sudan is governed by the Transitional Constitution of 2011, the Nationality Act 2011 and the Nationality Regulations 2011, all adopted following the country’s secession from Sudan the same year to become an independent country. The legislation grants nationality automatically to a wide range of people born before or after the secession of South Sudan on the basis that any parent, grandparent or great-grandparent was born in South Sudan, or that the person is a member of an “indigenous ethnic community” of South Sudan. In addition, a person is considered South Sudanese by birth if, on the date of secession of South Sudan, he or she, or his or her parents or grandparents had been domiciled in South Sudan since 1956 (the date of independence of Sudan).
However, the broad application of the law has the potential to damage the rights of certain persons when read in conjunction with the new legislation in Sudan which prohibits dual nationality with South Sudan, making it possible for the government of Sudan to argue that persons of South Sudanese ancestry remaining in the north have lost their previously held Sudanese nationality. In 2012, the governments of Sudan and South Sudan negotiated a Framework Agreement offering reciprocal rights to the citizens of one in the other. It is unclear, however, to what extent the agreement will be implemented. The capacity of South Sudan to offer documentation and consular support to its presumed citizens in Sudan is limited.