Statelessness in Burundi

Published: 31/Aug/2014
Source: IWACU (Burundi)

Descendants of Omani nationals have found themselves at risk of statelessness in Burundi after so many years living in this country. They face difficulties in getting papers and are not eligible to thesame privileges and rights that Burundi’s citizens receive.–By Yves Didier Irakoze

Ahmed Salum, a representative of Omani living in Burundi, says their life is not easy. “My parents came in Burundi many years ago. I was born in Burundi, but till now I don’t have papers. I’m not recognized by my parents’ country nor by the country I live in”, Ahmed sayssadly. He goes on saying that they don’t know where they belong. “We survive. We can’t travel, because we don’t have papers. Without them we can’t get a driving license, let alone a passport”, he says.

“The government of Burundi provides us with a temporary residence permit in partnership with the UNHCR, but we can’t present this document to get a passport or any administrative documents. We don’t have the same rights and privileges as citizens of Burundi.”

Ahmed Salum says that he appreciates that the government of Burundi allows them to stay in Burundi, but emphasizes that they need more help in order to get them back home to Oman. “Burundi knows our origins and can testify that we are from Oman. We thank Burundi because it raised and educated us. Now the government can help us to back home. Even if we would get Burundian nationality, we would still be called names or considered foreigners, because of our skin color. And that is very stressful.”

Read further on IWACU website.

Themes: Statelessness
Regions: Burundi
Year: 2014