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

Books or bombs? The future of children in conflict situations in Africa

Author: Michael Addaney[1]

  • Introduction

It is believed that the underlying causes of armed conflicts in Africa are high levels of poverty, economic deprivation, socio-political exclusion, and bad political leadership (insensitive leadership, institutional weaknesses, and official corruption).[2] Upon a deep reflection of the situation, the only sustainable solution to all these causal factors lies in quality education. Meanwhile, available statistics and media reports indicate that children who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of this quality education to serve as bridges to address the prevailing and protracted armed conflicts across the African continent have abandoned their books for bombs.[3] These children have become key players and playing pivotal roles as child soldiers and suicide bombers across the deadly armed conflicts and insurgencies on the African continent. Continue reading

Stepping Forward Into the Past

The African Union has had a draft resolution that will merge the current continental judicial bodies- the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Court of Justice and Human Rights- into one judicial body- African Court of Justice and Human and Peoples’ Rights. Part of the resolution proposes that the new court should have an enhanced criminal jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide on the continent. Without getting into the merits or demerits of such a step, the sting is in the tail of additional proposed changes. Continue reading