Failure by Zimbabwean citizens in the diaspora to obtain birth certificates and national identity documents is depriving their children of the enjoyment of full rights and privileges, rendering them stateless.
The impact of such statelessness is that the concerned children are restricted from participating in the economy, accessing jobs, starting businesses and opening bank accounts, among other privileges. They are also poor, marginalised, discriminated against and politically excluded since they cannot vote.
This is contained in a position paper compiled by the Zimbabwe Peace Project as a result of research conducted in Binga, Chiredzi, Matobo, Mutasa and Mutoko districts on the challenges faced by citizens in the diaspora in acquiring birth certificates and national identity cards. The research findings were shared via a webinar titled “Cursed with statelessness: Consequences of deprivation of national identification documents,” by ZPP researcher, Bekezela Gumbo.
According to the research, children born in the diaspora grow up without national registration as many of them have no birth records required at the Registrar General’s Office for the purpose of issuance of birth certificates. Failure to acquire birth certificates has in turn served as a barrier for them to acquire national identity and travel documents.