Stateless Minorities in Madagascar: Everything you Absolutely Need to Know
Source: ALU Global Focus (African Leadership University, Kigali)
By Nomena Irintsoa Rakotonindrina
What does it feel like to not belong? What does it feel like to grow up in a home where you are viewed as a stranger even though it is the only home you ever had? What does it mean to be stateless?
While we are here simply imagining the feeling, it is the reality of around 100,000 people in Madagascar (“Statelessness affects millions in Africa: Madagascar is tackling the problem – Madagascar”, 2017). This has been Sougrabay Ibrahim’s life for 84 years as she shares the challenges she faces as a stateless person in an interview with UNHCR in 2017. Sougrabay Ibrahim is from the Karana community, one of the stateless minorities in Madagascar. The Karana are Indo-Pakistani Muslim descendants who have lived in Madagascar for over a century now. When Madagascar gained independence in 1960, many failed to acquire a nationality and remain stateless until today (Joint Submission to the Human Rights Council at the 34 th Session of the Universal Periodic Review, 2019). Back then, the Malagasy law only provided nationalities to individuals who have blood affiliations with a Malagasy parent (“Apatridie : toutes « ces personnes fantômes » que Madagascar ne reconnaît pas”, 2020). This law perpetuated statelessness within the community even though they were born and raised in Madagascar.
Read further: Stateless Minorities in Madagascar: Everything you Absolutely Need to Know – ALU Global Focus