Source: ECOWAS & UNHCR
Following two days of high-level consultations on 23-24 February, Member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) adopted today a Declaration on the prevention, reduction and elimination of statelessness in West Africa at a joint UNHCR/ECOWAS Ministerial Conference hosted by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire.
At least 750,000 people are stateless or at risk of statelessness in the region and, as such, are often subject to life in limbo, with limited access to education, healthcare, and employment. They are also vulnerable to discrimination and abuse as they have no legal existence and are not recognized in the eyes of the law.
President Alassane Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire, UNHCR High Commissioner António Guterres and the Vice-President of ECOWAS Dr. Toga Gayewea Mcintosh opened the Ministerial Conference on statelessness in West Africa this morning (Wednesday 25) in Abidjan – the first of its kind in Africa. “I am convinced that only truly cooperation will considerably reduce statelessness in our countries. Together, we can find solutions inspired by the international treaties to put an end to this plight in 10 years”, stressed President Ouattara at the Conference.