Citizenship and land: a potent relationship

Published: 14/Dec/2009
Source: African Arguments

By Lucy Hovil

Recent research in Burundi on the repatriation of refugees has highlighted the strong link between land and citizenship. The research (“Two People Can’t Share the Same Pair of Shoes: Citizenship, Land and the Return of Refugees to Burundi“) tracked the experience of refugees returning to southern Burundi and (re)claiming their citizenship. Most had been living in exile in Tanzania – some since the early 1990s, and others since 1972. Some were born in exile and had never been to Burundi before. Others left when they were children. But all of them had a strong notion that returning to Burundi signified an end to exile and an opportunity to finally become citizens of their homeland. And the measure of that renewed bond between citizen and state was their ability to recover land.

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Themes: Acquisition of nationality, Discrimination, Ethnic/Racial/Religious
Regions: East Africa, Pan Africa
Year: 2009