EMN Ad hoc query on returns to Sudan

In the context of the debate on returns to Sudan, the Belgian authorities saw the need to collect up to date and comparable data regarding the number of Sudanese nationals returned to Sudan by other EU Member States (MS) and Norway, and to collect additional information on the identification and return processes in other EU Member States and Norway. 


To address this information need, the Belgian national contact point of the European Migration Network (EMN) launched a query including the following five questions:

  1. Please provide statistics regarding the number of Sudanese nationals returned towards Sudan in 2016 and 2017 (returns, or transfers to other EU MS or other countries besides Sudan should be excluded, also refusals of entry should be excluded). 
  2. In case the irregularly staying persons to be returned did not apply for asylum, is there a procedure to ensure that there is no risk of violation of Article 3 ECHR? Please describe briefly the procedure in your Member State.  
  3. In case returns of Sudanese nationals to Sudan were reported for 2016 and/or 2017, how were they identified in view of the return operation?
  4. Does the return policy vary according to the profile of Sudanese nationals concerned (e.g. region of origin and ethnicity)? Are these profiles also taken into account in the absence of an asylum application? And if so, how are these profiles in this case verified?
  5. In case returns of Sudanese nationals to Sudan were reported for 2016 and/or 2017, have you monitored the situation of returnees upon return? If so, did you receive concrete indications that Sudanese nationals returned by your Member State have been subject to mistreatment or torture by the Sudanese authorities?

Responses to the EMN ad hoc query were received from Belgium and 22 other EU Member States and from Norway. The compilation of the answers provided by the other EU Member States and Norway and a summary can be downloaded here above. Germany, France, The Czech Republic and Finland provided and answer that is not open for wider dissemination, therefore their answers are not reflected in the summary nor in the compilation that is open for wider dissemination.

The main findings of the EMN query can be summarised as follows: 

  • Several Member States and Norway have organised the forced and/or voluntary return of Sudanese nationals to Sudan during the past few years. For most Member States the numbers are relatively low. 
  • Most Member States indicate that a return is not enforced if there is a risk of violating Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). However, most Member States are not specific on how the assessment occurs in case it concerns a returnee who did not apply for asylum.
  • For the purpose of identification and issuing travel documents (laissez-passer/ETD) in view of return, most Member States and Norway collaborate with the Sudanese embassies. In addition some countries have received a Sudanese delegation for identification and for issuing travel documents.
  • Several Member States indicate that the profile, ethnicity and/or region of origin are taken into consideration when assessing the asylum application for international protection but most Member States indicate that this is not the case in the framework of the return procedures.
  • None of the Member States or Norway organise sytematic monitoring of the returnees in Sudan.


The report of inquiry of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons Office regarding the risk in case of return to Sudan can be found on the website of the CGRS via this link.

Publication Date:
Wed 14 Mar 2018
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