Zimbabwe: Citizenship error leaves children stateless

Published: 13/Jan/2013
Source: The Standard (Harare)

Now back in Zimbabwe, Barbara Nicholas says her children have been rendered stateless because of the failure by the UK Home Office to renew their passports. Nicholas says she and her family moved to the UK in 2003, where they all acquired British citizenship, with her children receiving passports in 2007.

Later in 2007, she says they were forced to return to Zimbabwe after her in-laws were kicked off a farm where they were working. Prior to working, they had lost their own land in 2000 during the fast-track land reform exercise.

“As they [in-laws] were destitute and moneyless, having received no compensation for the farm they bought, we were left with no choice but to return to Zimbabwe to try and help them get sorted,” she said in a letter addressed to the British consular services.

“As things turned out and lack of finances, we were forced to remain in Zimbabwe.”

The children’s passports expired last February and Nicholas has been struggling to renew them.

However, the British embassy in South Africa said since both the children and their mother were born in Zimbabwe, the offspring could not claim British citizenship by virtue of their mother being a citizen.

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Themes: Dual Nationality, Identity Documents, Birth Registration, Loss and Deprivation of Nationality
Regions: Southern Africa, Zimbabwe
Year: 2013