UNHCR Campaign to End Statelessness Update July-September 2022

Published: 5/Déc/2022
Source: UNHCR

Extracts relevant to Africa:

Top events and news
Liberia becomes the third country since the start of the #IBelong Campaign to reform legislation to grant women and men equal rights in passing on their nationality to their children.
Nigeria adopts a National Action Plan to Eradicate Statelessness and establishes a National Steering Committee to oversee its implementation.

Implementation of the Global Action Plan

Action 2: Ensure that no child is born stateless

In Mali, the president signed a decree which sets out the modalities and procedures regarding the acquisition and loss of Malian nationality, in accordance with the relevant provisions in the law regulating Malian nationality. Without this decree, access to nationality was not clearly regulated, and the lack of guidance or procedures related to access to nationality posed challenges related to accessing nationality. Through this decree, Mali partially implemented one of its pledges made during the 2019 HLS.

Action 3: Remove gender discrimination from nationality laws

In Liberia, the President signed an act to amend the Aliens and Nationality Law, removing gender-discriminatory provisions preventing women to confer nationality to their children on an equal basis as men. Liberia is only the third country to reform legislation to grant women and men equal rights in passing on their nationality to their children since the #IBelong Campaign was launched in 2014, following Madagascar and Sierra Leone.

Action 7: Ensure birth registration for the prevention of statelessness

In Kenya, the Haki Centre and Civil Registration Services conducted a 5-day mobile birth registration exercise in Lungalunga sub-county in Kwale county, targeting stateless and at-risk populations. A total of 2,133 children were registered, including through late birth registration procedures.

In Sudan, UNHCR and the Sudanese Civil Registry launched birth registration campaigns in eight states. The campaigns are targeting 13,500 individuals at risk of statelessness, including returnees, IDPs, refugees, and members of the host community, to ensure that every child has a birth certificate.

In Chad, UNHCR and its government partner, the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés, facilitated the organization of 15 mobile courts in the southern region of the country to enable access to civil documentation for refugee children who were previously unable to access birth registration leaving them at risk of statelessness. A total of 1,287 children were issued supplementary judgments by the courts which enabled the issuance of their birth certificates.

In Benin, UNHCR’s partner Amnesty International Benin and the National Agency for the Identification of Persons jointly organized the distribution of 9,200 birth certificates to children who were previously undocumented in Ouidah and the Karimama regions. Children born in these remote rural areas bordering Niger may struggle to prove their parentage and links to Benin, placing them at risk of statelessness.

Action 8: Issue nationality documentation to those with entitlement to it

In Burkina Faso, UNHCR’s support to the Government enabled the delivery of 23,179 civil status and identity documents  to 12,748 internally displaced persons and 10,431 members of the host community in Boucle du Mouhoun, North, Hauts-Bassins, South-West and East regions.

In Chad, 2,300 IDPs in the Chad Lake Region, received their first ever ID cards issued by the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés, the government body in charge of the issuance of ID documents in Chad. These IDPs belong to a group of people living in the border region between Chad and Nigeria who are settled in both countries. In addition, these populations live in hard-to-reach areas making it difficult for them to access civil registration and documentation.

Enhancing coordination on statelessness


In Nigeria, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and UNHCR, launched a National Action Plan to Eradicate Statelessness in Nigeria (NAP), and the Steering Committee responsible for its implementation was inaugurated. With the launch of the NAP and the inauguration of the Steering  Committee, Nigeria took an important step towards the prevention and reduction of statelessness and demonstrating Nigeria’s efforts to  implement its commitments made during the 2019 High-Level Segment on Statelessness (HLS).

UNHCR, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (CEMAC), co-organized a virtual meeting with civil society organizations and persons affected by statelessness to seek feedback and contributions to the draft regional model law on statelessness determination procedures, the protection of stateless persons and the facilitation of their naturalization. Over 70 civil society organization attended the consultations. Substantial contributions were provided to the draft model law which will be reviewed and finalized for validation by technical experts from ECOWAS and CEMAC Member States.

In Kenya, UNHCR, UNICEF and the Kenya Human Rights Commission met with the head of the Department for Civil Registration Services to discuss strengthening collaboration to improve access to regular and late birth registration for stateless individuals. The meeting was followed by consultations with civil registration officers, national government administration officers and the Shona community, to listen to community concerns and identify challenges related to late birth registration procedures. Following the consultations, standard operating procedures were developed to guide late birth registration procedures for members of the community. A rapid mobile birth registration exercise for the Shona community is planned for October 2022.

In Sudan, UNHCR and the Ministry of Social Development organized a workshop on gender equality in nationality matters. The workshop was attended by the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, members of the judiciary, and participants from civil society. Issues regarding gender discrimination in the nationality legislation and relevant administrative procedures were discussed. Participants recommended amending the nationality law to ensure conformity with international standards, intensify sensitization among civil registry staff, provide legal aid and representation to affected women and accede to the UN Statelessness Conventions.

In the Central African Republic, during an official ceremony held on the 14 September, the UNHCR Representative officially handed over various types of in-kind support to the Minister of Justice, to support the work of the National  Committee for the Fight against Statelessness. This is in line with the National Action Plan to eradicate statelessness, and  supports the commitments made at the 2019 HLS.

In Benin, UNHCR, the National Commission in charge of Refugees and the Law Commission of the National Assembly co-organized an information session on the Draft Law on the Status of Refugees and Stateless Persons. UNHCR presented its  comments on the draft and made recommendations to ensure its compliance with international standards on the protection of refugees and stateless persons. UNHCR also called on the National Assembly to accelerate reforming the nationality legislation to ensure adequate safeguards are in place to prevent and reduce statelessness. The seminar was attended by 50 parliamentarians.

In Mali, the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights organized a workshop to develop two important documents relating to  statelessness, namely a draft decree creating a government body responsible for the implementation of the statelessness determination procedures (SDPs) and a draft text on the design and procedures of the SDPs.

In the Republic of Congo, the Council of Ministers adopted a decree establishing the inter-institutional technical committee for the eradication of statelessness. This technical body will contribute to the implementation of the government’s policy to combat statelessness. The committee will soon commence its activities aimed at identifying and protecting persons affected by statelessness, and ultimately processing applications for stateless status.

Download full update: https://www.refworld.org/docid/638f28324.html

Themes: Acquisition de la nationalité, Acquisition par les enfants, Apatridie, Discrimination, Sexuelle, Cartes d’identité et passeports, Enregistrement des naissances, Normes internationales, Naturalisation et le mariage
Regions: Libéria, Afrique de l'Ouest, Mali, International, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Kenya, République du Congo, Soudan, Bénin, République Centrafricaine, Tchad
Year: 2022