UNHCR Campaign to End Statelessness Update January – March 2023

Published: 23/Juin/2023
Source: UNHCR

Extracts relevant to Africa:

Action 1: Resolve existing major situations of statelessness

The Government of Kenya formally recognized the Pemba as an ethnic community and therefore citizens of Kenya through a Gazette Notice on 30 January. It instructs authorities to recognize the Pemba community and issue them with the necessary identification documents. As a result of this proclamation, members of the Pemba community will be able to obtain Kenyan IDs, which serves as proof of their nationality and allows them to access public and social services. The proclamation follows a December announcement by the President that their plight needs to be resolved. The Government organized a gathering with the Pemba community in Kilifi on 1 March to launch the procedure to confirm their nationality and issue proof of Kenyan citizenship. The event was  organized in partnership with UNHCR and the NGO Haki Centre. The application process is currently ongoing.

Action 2: Ensure that no child is born stateless

In Côte d’Ivoire, the NGO Association des Femmes Juristes de Côte d’Ivoire provided assistance to 36 abandoned children to obtain civil and nationality documentation. A 2019 circular from the  Ministry of Justice made it possible for foundlings to be recognized as Ivorians.

Action 3: Remove gender discrimination from nationality laws

The Nigerian Minister of Interior reinstated the issuance of Temporary Resident Permits to foreign spouses of Nigerian women in October 2022. This measure is a temporary solution until legal  reforms are put in place to ensure that foreign spouses of Nigerian women can acquire citizenship by registration, like foreign spouses of Nigerian men can. Once the 10th Assembly is  reconstituted, a bill will be submitted.

Benin’s national assembly passed a new nationality law in November that was published in the official gazette in February this year. The law removes gender-discriminatory provisions and introduces jus soli as a means to acquire nationality, fulfilling Benin’s pledge at the High-Level Segment on statelessness. Benin was not included in the list of 24 countries with discriminatory nationality laws that could potentially result in statelessness.

Action 6: Grant protection status to stateless migrants and facilitate their naturalization 

The President of Nigeria signed into law the “National Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons Act” on 15 February. The Act aims to protect stateless migrants by establishing statelessness determination procedures, granting them status, and facilitating appropriate solutions, in line with the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. This step is in line with the National Action Plan to Eradicate Statelessness in Nigeria.

Action 8: Issue nationality documentation to those with entitlement to it

The President of Somalia signed the National Identification and Registration Authority Bill on 20 March. The law will set up a new National Identity Management System and sets the conditions for legal identity documents to be issued to nationals of the Federal Republic of Somalia. According to the law, every Somali citizen will be able to register their identity and obtain a national ID card. The signed law will be published in the official gazette, after which it will come into effect.

In Mozambique, UNHCR and the Catholic University of Mozambique, in collaboration with Government authorities in Pemba, assisted a total of 1,172 people to reacquire birth certificates and national IDs, which have been lost during displacement.

Mobilizing governments and civil society

UNHCR, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) held a regional meeting of government statelessness focal points and civil society from West and Central Africa from 27 to 30 March in Saly, Senegal. The meeting resulted in the adoption at technical level of a regional model law on statelessness  determination, the protection of stateless persons and the facilitation of their naturalization. ECOWAS and ECCAS presented their roadmaps to move the model Law forward in their respective communities. The meeting also included a stocktaking of progress made towards implementing pledges, challenges faced, and opportunities for redoubled efforts to address statelessness.

The national taskforce on the eradication of statelessness in Zambia updated and adopted a National Action Plan to End Statelessness in February. The updated plan recommends that Zambia accedes to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and amends the Citizenship Act No. 33 of 2016 and the National Registration Act Chapter 126, among other measures. The amendments would facilitate the establishment of a statelessness determination procedure and raise the maximum age by which foundlings would be presumed to have Zambian nationality.

A second meeting of the statelessness working group of Côte d’Ivoire took place on 26 January, in Abidjan, attended by high-level representatives from state institutions and NGOs involved in implementing the national action plan for eradicating statelessness. During the meeting a roadmap of priority measures for the remaining year of the #IBelong Campaign was adopted. It includes the creation of a government task force on statelessness, improving public awareness on the issue and adopting legislation to create pathways to nationality for stateless person, among other priority measures.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a group of civil society organizations, together with the National Committee on Statelessness, validated the civil society roadmap to advocate for accession to the UN Statelessness Conventions.

Download from Refworld: https://www.refworld.org/docid/649555744.html

Themes: Apatridie, Normes internationales
Regions: Afrique centrale, Zambie, Afrique de l'Ouest, International, Nigeria, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, République Démocratique du Congo, Somalie, Bénin, Mozambique
Year: 2023