Source: African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
The study on The Right to Nationality in Africa was undertaken by the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Internally Displaced Persons of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Study, pursuant to Resolution 234 of April 2013, and approved by the Commission at its 55th Ordinary Session, May 2014.
Extract from introduction:
The starting point for the present document was the adoption in April 2013, by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (hereinafter the African Commission), of a Resolution entrusting its Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (hereinafter the Special Rapporteur) with the conduct and drafting of a study on the right to nationality on the continent. However, this decision was actually the final stage in a multifaceted thought process taking place on the continent regarding the right to nationality. Litigation on nationality and massive expulsions of aliens in Africa3, and notably the hallmark case of the nationality of the former President of Zambia Kenneth Kaunda, comprised the foremost source of information for the African Commission on this phenomenon, which other African Union bodies had already noted to be a problem of concern.
The African Union’s Migration Policy Framework adopted in 2006 included among its other recommendations that AU Member States should ‘incorporate key guidelines as recommended in the 1954 and 1961 Statelessness Conventions’, and ‘develop national legislative and policy frameworks to counter statelessness, particularly in cases of long-term residents, by reforming citizenship legislation and/or granting rights similar to those enjoyed by foreigners residing in the country’. Experts meeting within the framework of the African Union Border Programme in June 2007 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, urged the States concerned with problems to do with the delimitation and demarcation of their boundaries to ‘take the necessary steps to protect the rights of the affected populations, notably where there is a risk of loss of nationality [statelessness], of real property or of forced displacement’. They agreed ‘to undertake and pursue bilateral negotiations on all problems relating to the delimitation and demarcation of their borders, including those pertaining to the rights of the affected populations, with a view to
finding appropriate solutions to these problems’.
For their part, African national human rights institutions (hereinafter NHRIs), faced with the reality of the ‘intractable problems of Refugees, IDPs and Stateless persons in Africa’ recommended at their meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, in June 2007, that African States ‘evaluate and review existing legislation on citizenship and nationality and ensure that they do not create situations that lead to statelessness’ and work with international and regional organisations, including the African
Union, in the ‘promotion, protection of rights of Refugees, IDPs and Stateless persons in Africa’.
Download file: ACHPR, The right to nationality in Africa (PDF, 872 kb)