Includes the following information from Africa:
Mobilizing governments and civil society
- On 3 October, UNHCR organized a roundtable discussion in Juba, South Sudan, on accession to the two UN Statelessness Conventions. The roundtable was organized in close collaboration with the National Statelessness Focal Point and the National Coordinator of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and was attended by 35 members of the South Sudan Transitional National Legislative Assembly and representatives of UN sister organizations and civil society. The roundtable covered the causes and consequences of statelessness, the international legal framework on statelessness, including the two UN Statelessness Conventions, as well as South Sudan’s pledge to adopt a National Plan of Action to Eradicate Statelessness.
- On 12 and 14 October, a participatory assessment exercise with persons at risk of statelessness was held in Juba, South Sudan, organized by UNHCR, the Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Immigration, the National Focal Point on Statelessness and the UN Association for South Sudan. The exercise involved individual interviews with 13 community chiefs and focus group discussions with 66 persons representing 14 tribes. Respondents raised issues related to the lack of documentation and limited access to education, vocational training, and healthcare. The findings of the participatory assessment are to inform advocacy and assistance activities by UNHCR, its partners and government entities working on statelessness.
- On 12 and 13 November, in South Sudan, UNHCR convened a workshop on the right to a nationality and reduction of statelessness with the South Sudan Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Immigration (DNPI) which was attended by officers of the DNPI, the Ministry of Gender and the Norwegian Refugee Council. The workshop aimed at improving the implementation of national procedures for the issuance of nationality certificates. A second workshop on 27 and 28 November in Juba assisted DNPI officers to interpret and apply the Nationality Act and Regulations in order to prevent statelessness.
- From 9 to 13 December, UNHCR and the Catholic University of Central Africa organized a French course on statelessness and nationality law in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The course was attended by 32 representatives of civil society, academia and governments who work on civil registration and nationality. The purpose of the course was to analyse gaps in nationality and civil registry laws and identify challenges in preventing statelessness. It is expected that after this training the university will include a course on statelessness and nationality law in its curriculum and explore other opportunities for collaboration with UNHCR on statelessness, including through research.
- From 20 to 22 November, UNHCR organized a three-day workshop in Mombasa, Kenya for the members of the newly constituted Government taskforce on statelessness. The aim of the training was to equip the taskforce with knowledge concerning the causes and consequences of statelessness; familiarize them with methods to identify stateless persons and resolve cases of statelessness; and to conduct an initial review of the nationality framework and related practices. On the last day, the taskforce met with representatives of stateless communities and county commissioners. This allowed the taskforce members to gain a better understanding of the situation of stateless communities and hear their views on how to work towards the resolution of statelessness in Kenya.
- On 3 October, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Morocco and UNHCR organized a workshop in Rabat on Morocco’s contribution to the Global Refugee Forum. The workshop gathered 167 stakeholders from ministries, national institutions, international organizations, regional and municipal authorities, private sector, NGOs, academics and refugee associations. One of the sub-thematic groups discussed statelessness prevention and recommended accession to the UN Statelessness Conventions, the facilitation of birth registration through assistance, sensitization and training, and reform of the Nationality Code to eliminate all forms of discrimination.
- On 23 and 24 October, UNHCR and its implementing partner Moroccan Organisation of Human Rights organized a training on refugee law and statelessness for representatives of the Ministry of Interior and security forces in Nador, Morocco. The training aimed to strengthen knowledge of international standards in the area of statelessness, reinforce protection space, and raise awareness of relevant statelessness prevention measures. A similar training was organized on 22 and 23 November for lawyers in Morocco to strengthen
the legal assistance capacity for the prevention of statelessness.
- On 6 and 7 December, in Tunis, Tunisia, UNHCR and the Commissioner for the African Union on Refugees, Displaced and Stateless Persons organized a seminar on the African Union Draft Protocol on the Right to a Nationality and the Eradication of Statelessness. The seminar was convened to advocate for the support of North African countries for the protocol and to inform participants of progress in the implementation of the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness by 2024.
- Three States adopted new National Action Plans to End Statelessness. On 10 September, Niger adopted a National Action Plan against Statelessness. On 21 November, a National Action Plan was validated in Madagascar during a workshop organized by the Ministry of Justice. Representatives of the Parliament, the Senate, Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs, and National Education, as well as the National Commission for Human Rights participated in the event. On 22 November, the Central African Republic adopted its National Action Plan to End Statelessness.
- From 21 to 25 October, the Ministry of Home Affairs of Eswatini convened meetings in all four regions to sensitize traditional leaders and chiefs about the importance of reforming the Constitution and uphold citizens’ rights to transmit their nationality to their children. The meetings were organized in the context of the recent adoption of the National Action Plan to End Statelessness by the Government of Eswatini.
- From 8 to 10 November, UNHCR convened a ‘Dialogue with Parliamentarians on Nationality and Statelessness in Zimbabwe’ with the Parliament of Zimbabwe. The workshop was attended by the Deputy President of the Senate, Chairpersons and 55 Members of Parliament from different portfolio committees. Participants discussed the significance of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness with a view to accession. Participants also developed a draft joint action plan to ensure Zimbabwe’s legal, policy and administrative frameworks are in line with international instruments and safeguards on the prevention and eradication
- From 9 to 12 December, the UNHCR-UNICEF Coalition on Every Child’s Right to a Nationality, in partnership with the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion and Lawyers for Human Rights, organized a training on childhood statelessness in Pretoria, South Africa. The training gathered government and NGO representatives from countries across southern Africa
Implementation of the Global Action Plan
- With regard to Action 2, Ensure that no child is born stateless, […] on 4 October the Minister of Justice and Human Rights of Côte d’Ivoire issued a circular authorizing judges across the country to grant nationality to stateless foundlings.
- With regard to Action 7, the Government of Cameroon has started implementing a Ministerial order to regularize the civil status of persons who do not have birth certificates. Instructions were given to municipal magistrates to identify persons who do not have birth certificates and regularize their situation through a procedure involving health institutions for age certificates and courts for issuance of orders for late birth registration.
- With respect to Action 8, the Department of the Registrar General of Zimbabwe, with operational support from UNHCR, continues to issue nationality and civil status documentation to the populations affected by Tropical Cyclone Idai in the Chimanimani and Chipinge Districts in Manicaland Province. As of 2 December, a total of 37,609 civil status documents had been issued.
- In line with Action 9, Accede to the UN Statelessness Conventions, Angola deposited its instrument of accession to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (1954 Convention) and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (1961 Convention) during the High-Level Segment on Statelessness on 7 October.
- In line with Action 10, on 13 November, Zimbabwe officially commenced a study on statelessness with a desk review which is to inform primary data collection scheduled to be implemented in 2020. Similarly, in Niger, UNHCR has launched a study on statelessness in cooperation with the LARADES Research Institute and the University of Tahoua.
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