Envoys of Eritrea, Nigeria and Somalia on Thursday met with the leadership of department for immigration and passports to discuss treatment of their nationals by immigration officers.
“As African ambassadors, we have organized this meeting so that we will be able to cooperate with concerned authorities especially migration department, we have agreed to inform our citizens to respect the rules and regulations of this country whether it is in immigration or some other sectors,” Johannes Teclemichael, the Eritrean Ambassador to South Sudan said in Juba after the meeting.
Teclemichael said that South Sudan is the only country in the world where African migrants can live without visa and documentation.
“Wherever you go in the world, if you do not have documents you will be returned back,” he said.
Lt.Col Philip Kuch Manyuon, the Deputy Director for Administration and Finance in Immigration, said they have asked foreigners to renew their documentation, adding that foreigners in transit are not required to register with immigration authority.
“We have agreed for all immigration officers when they go out doing their duties, they must wear their identity for identification and for accountability, any officer who misbehaves must be reported to higher authorities,” Manyuon said.
“We have agreed that free visa does not mean free documentation, you must have a valid document for us to put a visa on your valid document, those who are having expired document must go to nearby station for their documentation or visa to be renewed,” he added.
Foreign nationals have been complaining of illegal detention, harassment and exploitation by corrupt immigration officers during their search operation for foreigners living illegally in South Sudan.
Some officers in plain clothes often pick up their victims using unofficial vehicles dubbed “drones” to undisclosed safe houses on the outskirts of Juba city, where they torture and extort money from their victims.