UNHCR Campaign to End Statelessness update Jan – Mar 2019
Including the following information on African states:
- On 17 and 18 January, the Kenya Human Rights Commission convened a workshop on digital identity and citizenship with representatives from the Government of Kenya and from stateless communities in Naivasha, Kenya. The workshop resulted in the creation of a government working group on statelessness to promote access to birth registration and nationality for the remaining stateless communities in Kenya.
- On 9 February, UHNCR and the National School of Administration (ENA) convened a conference in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, on “Statelessness, Nationality, and the Right of Asylum”. The conference was attended by more than 100 participants and resulted in a commitment on the part of ENA to integrate a module on addressing statelessness in its academic curriculum.
- On 4 March, the Committee of Justice and Human Rights of the Pan-African Parliament organized a Workshop on the Eradication of Statelessness in Africa in Midrand, South Africa. The workshop was facilitated by UNHCR and culminated in a draft resolution on statelessness, which will be submitted to the Pan-African Parliament General Assembly session in May 2019.
- On 5 March, the Statelessness Country Technical Team (ETAP) in Burkina Faso reviewed the achievements of the Government to end statelessness during a meeting which was attended by Government officials, UNHCR, UNICEF, IOM and civil society organizations. The Minister of Justice emphasized the ongoing revision of the Code of Persons and the Family, including in relation to aspects concerning civil status and nationality, as well as the Government’s commitment to adopt a law on the status of stateless persons and adopt a statelessness determination procedure.
- On Action 2 (Ensure that no child is born stateless), the number of foundlings who were granted Ivorian nationality following legal proceedings in Côte d’Ivoire has gone up to eleven since the beginning of 2019. In 2018, a court granted nationality to five children following a landmark court decision. A judge in Soubre recently followed the decision and issued nationality certificates to an additional six children.
- In line with Action 3 (Remove gender discrimination from nationality law), Lesotho enacted constitutional reforms to grant women and men an equal ability to confer nationality on spouses. UNHCR and the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights have advocated for this reform, which puts an end to the inequality between men and women with regard to the acquisition of nationality.
- Also in line with Action 6, on 8 March, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo adopted “Ministerial Decree 1061”, establishing an inter-institutional committee to coordinate and oversee the eradication of statelessness in the country. In particular, the committee will oversee the country’s accession to the statelessness conventions, ensure that its legislation conforms to international standards set by the conventions, develop a National Action Plan on eradicating statelessness, and establish a body responsible for implementing statelessness determination in accordance with established procedures.
- With respect to Action 9 (Accede to the UN Statelessness Conventions), on 14 March, the Council of Ministers of Angola approved the country’s accession to both the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. The bill will now go to the Parliament, prior to endorsement by the President.
In line with Action 10, UNHCR and the National Institute of Statistics of Côte d’Ivoire held a workshop from 12 to 14 February to validate the findings of the nation-wide statelessness mapping exercise conducted in 2018. The report will be launched later in the year.
Download full report: https://www.refworld.org/docid/5ca5bfc77.html