The Right to Belong: Dealing With Statelessness in Sub-Saharan Africa

Author:  Michael Addaney

‘Statelessness is a profound violation of an individual’s human rights. It would be deeply unethical to perpetuate the pain it causes when solutions are so clearly within reach.’

Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

In recent years statelessness has become a major concern in various contexts and levels particularly within Africa. Often, statelessness is associated with displacement through armed conflicts as well natural disasters and hence overlaps with the flow of refugees and Internally Displaced Person (IDPs). With Africa’s colonial heritage, critical issues arose from the succession of states and the determination of national status within emerging and transitional states. Moreover, most African states have different approaches in determining nationality and civil status which inadvertently conflict with the legal and policy frameworks of other states. All the above situations create statelessness. Continue reading

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