Border changes

A particular category of border population most affected by doubts around nationality are those affected by border disputes; including those where administration of territory has been transferred as a result of a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The best known ICJ decision transferring territory in Africa, and the one affecting the most people, was handed down in 2002 and awarded the Bakassi Peninsula bordering Nigeria and Cameroon to Cameroon, placing a population of perhaps one hundred thousand people at risk of statelessness.

Other cases relate to disputed frontiers where borders were not firmly established during the colonial period or on the transition to independence.  They include ICJ rulings on the “Aouzou Strip” between Chad and Libya, and on disputes between Burkina Faso and Mali, Botswana and Namibia, Benin and Niger, and Burkina Faso and Niger.

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