Southern children at shelters in the North to be repatriated following secession: official
January 20, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese authorities are in the process of making a list of Southern children staying in homeless shelters in the North so that they are sent to the South in the event the referendum vote comes in favor of secession, an official said today.
Southern children (SMC)
The director of care management at the Ministry of Development in Khartoum State Mona Mustafa Khogali told the government sponsored Sudanese Media Center (SMC) website that authorities along with NGO’s will count the population of impacted children in coordination with the Government of Southern Sudan.
Khogali said that around 30 social workers are undergoing training to handle these cases emphasizing that the deportation of children will take place only if South opts for independence.
She added that this move is in line with the ministry’s strategy crafted in preparation for the country’s breakup.
The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) party in the North has stressed that Southerners living in the North will be treated as foreigners once the separation materializes and ruled out any prospects for dual citizenship.
Critics say that Sudanese constitution allows for dual citizenship and it bestows birthright citizenship on those born on its soil.
But Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir said in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV recently that Southerners exclusively got the self-determination right and as such they cannot retain citizenship rights in the North unless they pick unity.
Preliminary results show a landslide vote in favor of separation by Southern Sudanese inside the country and abroad.
An estimated two million people died in the 22-year civil war, the latest round in five decades of conflict between the south and the mainly Arab north that has blighted Africa’s largest nation.
The week-long independence vote was the centerpiece of the 2005 peace agreement that ended the war.