Sudan: National identity cards, including issuance procedures; information contained in the cards, including physical description (2001-June 2013)

Published: 3/Jul/2013
Source: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

1. Background

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a lawyer in Khartoum indicated that in Sudan there are various identity card systems, which fall under the following Acts: Identity Card Act 1981, Civil Registry Act 2001, and Civil Registry Act 2011 (Lawyer 23 June 2013). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Khartoum stated that issuance of Sudanese national identity cards is governed by the 2011 Civil Registry Act (UN 24 June 2013). Sources state that the Civil Registry Act of 2011 replaced the Civil Registry Act of 2001 (Lawyer 23 June 2013; UN 24 June 2013). However, the UNHCR Khartoum representative stated that “the Civil Registry Regulations of 2005 issued under the 2001 Act remain valid and in force as at present no new regulation has been issued under the 2011 Act” (ibid.). The lawyer indicated that, “[a]lthough the first Civil Registry Act was promulgated in 2001, section 4(1) of this Act states, ‘[t]his Act shall be applied in such places and dates to be specified by the Minister by an order made by him from time to time, and shall be published in the Gazette'” (Lawyer 23 June 2013).

Sources indicate that, in 2011, Sudan started implementing a new civil registry procedure (Sudan 18 June 2013; IRRI May 2013, 7). According to the International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI), an organization that promotes human rights during displacement and conflict situations (IRRI n.d.), this procedure was introduced in May 2011 and is “required for all residents and citizens” (ibid. May 2013, 7). In a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, an official from the Embassy of the Republic of Sudan in Ottawa stated that Sudan is working towards having one central issuing body for civil registration documents, including national numbers, birth certificates and marriage certificates (Sudan 18 June 2013). Sources indicate that in 2011, the government began issuing new identity cards in accordance with the new civil registration system (CRAI 19 June 2013; UN 24 June 2013).

The Sudanese Embassy official indicated that identity cards are used to establish identity (Sudan 18 June 2013). He explained that identity cards are different from nationality cards [also called nationality certificates], which are a more commonly held document (Sudan 24 June 2013). The Sudanese Embassy official stated that nationality cards establish a person’s Sudanese nationality (ibid.) and they do not expire (ibid. 18 June 2013). There is an older version of the nationality card, with a green cover that is slightly less than half of the size of a standard A4 page (ibid., 24 June 2013), and there is the more updated version of the nationality card which is a wallet-sized card (ibid. 18 June 2013) that has information on both sides with the person’s photograph on the right top corner (ibid. 24 June 2013).

The lawyer and the UNHCR Khartoum representative both cited Article 27.8 of the 2011 Civil Registry Act, which states “notwithstanding the provisions of any other law, after obtaining the identity card and registration certificates,” the nationality certificate should be cancelled and replaced with the identity card (Lawyer 23 June 2013; UN 24 June 2013). According to the Sudanese Embassy official, nationality numbers replace nationality cards (Sudan 18 June 2013).

Read further

Themes: Discrimination, Ethnic/Racial/Religious, ID Documents and Passports
Regions: Sudan
Year: 2013