Sierra Leone

Citizenship in Sierra Leone is governed by the 1973 Citizenship Act, which was amended in 2006 to grant the right of dual citizenship and equal rights to citizenship through the mother for children born in Sierra Leone; this was extended to children born outside the country in 2017. However, the law continues to discriminate on the basis of race, providing since 1962 that citizenship by birth is acquired only from a parent who “is or was of Negro-African descent.”

In 2011, the government of Sierra Leone reported to the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review for Sierra Leone that it accepted that the racial discrimination in the 1973 Citizenship Act was problematic and pledged to include the issue in the upcoming constitutional review process.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern in 2008 over the lack of a systematic birth registration system; in 2016, the Committee urged the government to “continue its efforts to register all children, especially those in rural areas”.