Reports by theme : Citizenship
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Statelessness in Southern Africa
November 2012

This background paper, authored by AfriMAP senior adviser Bronwen Manby, was commissioned by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for a Regional Conference on Statelessness in Southern Africa, which was hosted by UNHCR in Mbombela (Nelspruit), South Africa 1-3 November 2011. The paper aims to be accurate up to 1 November 2011, and includes information on Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is also available on the REFWORLD website.

Statelessness in Southern Africa
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Citizenship Law in Africa: A comparative study
Open Society Foundations
21 October 2009

Citizenship Law in Africa: A comparative study, published by two programs of the Open Society Institute (AfriMAP and the Open Society Justice Initiative), describes the often arbitrary, discriminatory, and contradictory citizenship laws that exist from state to state and recommends ways that African countries can bring their citizenship laws in line with international rights norms. The report covers topics such as citizenship by descent, citizenship by naturalization, gender discrimination in citizenship law, dual citizenship, and the right to identity documents and passports. It includes detailed tables on comparative provisions of the law, as well as an analysis of international, African and national jurisprudence on nationality and statelessness.

The report, which is twinned with the Zed Books publication Struggles for Citizenship in Africa, featured below, is also available on the Open Society Justice Initiative website. Additional resources are at the Citizenship Rights in Africa Initiative website. The full text is also available in French, and the summary and recommendations in Arabic, by clicking on the link to download report in sections and other languages below. The report of the launch event in Kampala and communique from the parallel workshop are here.

Second Edition 2010 Now available for download, with corrections and updates relating to Kenya, Libya, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Summary and Recommendations
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Citizenship Law in Africa: A comparative study
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Struggles for Citizenship in Africa
Zed Books
21 October 2009

Hundreds of thousands of people living in Africa find themselves non-persons in the only state they have ever known. Because they are not recognised as citizens, they cannot get their children registered at birth; they cannot access state health services; they cannot obtain employment without a work permit; and if they leave the country they may not be able to return. Most of all, they cannot vote, stand for office, or work for state institutions. Ultimately, such policies can lead to economic and political disaster, or even war. The conflicts in both Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo have had at their hearts the right of one part of the national population to share with others on equal terms the rights and duties of citizenship. This book brings together new material from across Africa of the most egregious examples of citizenship discrimination, and makes the case for urgent reform of the law. It is twinned with the report published by the Open Society Institute Citizenship Law in Africa: A Comparative Study, and both are also available on the main website of the Open Society Foundations. Chapter one of the book is available below, and the other chapters can be downloaded by clicking on the link for 'download the report in sections' ; Chapter one is also available in French and Arabic via this link. The book is available for purchase from the Zed Books Website.

Chapter One: Struggles for Citizenship
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The Right to Nationality and the Secession of South Sudan: A Commentary on the Impact of the New Laws
18 June 2012

In January 2011, after years of civil war, the people of South Sudan voted overwhelmingly for separation from the Republic of Sudan. The Republic of South Sudan obtained its independence six months later, on 9 July 2011. As part of the process of separation of the two states, people of South Sudanese origin who are habitually resident (in some cases for many decades) in what remains the Republic of Sudan are being stripped of their Sudanese nationality and livelihoods. This is happening irrespective of the relative strength of their connections to either state, and their views on which state they would wish to belong to.

This detailed legal commentary from the Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA) and AfriMAP looks at the issues created by the respective nationality laws of the two Sudans. It makes recommendations aimed at averting a crisis of statelessness that could potentially affect over half a million people, now unfolding against the background of open conflict between the two countries.

Summary and Recommendations
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The Right to Nationality and the Secession of South Sudan: A Commentary on the Impact of the New Laws
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International Law and the Right to Nationality in Sudan
Open Society Foundations
February 2011

In the aftermath of the referendums on the status of South Sudan and Abyei, questions surrounding nationality and citizenship loom especially large in Sudan. This report, published by the Open Society Foundations, weighs in on the debate and offers specific recommendations on the criteria that should be used to determine citizenship in the new entities. The paper argues strongly that the negotiating parties should reject ethnicity as the basis for determining membership of the new polities. Instead, they should adopt the nondiscriminatory norms established by international human rights law, providing for citizenship to be granted on the basis of any appropriate connection to the territory, respecting the rights of individuals to opt for the nationality they prefer, and with the default option based on habitual residence. Available in Arabic and English.

International Law and the Right to Nationality in Sudan
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Blog: Draft Zimbabwe constitution fails citizenship test
11 October 2012
Bronwen Manby contributed a commentary on the nationality provisions of the draft Zimbabwean constitution to the OSISA blog, available here: more...
AU Symposium: ”Citizenship in Africa: Preventing Statelessness, Preventing Conflicts”, Nairobi / Kenya, 26-28 September 2012
28 September 2012
AfriMAP and the Open Society Foundations' AU advocacy office participated as resource people in a Symposium on citizenship in Africa hosted in Nairobi by the AU Commission Department of Political Affairs. Participants in the meeting were members of citizenship directorates from ministries around the continent, and the debate was substantive and constructive. The meeting made recommendations to member states and the AUC that included to: Carry out a survey/census and develop national plans to identify more...
Presentations in NYC and Washington DC on citizenship in Africa and the Sudans
19 June 2012
On 18 June, AfriMAP and OSIEA, the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa, launched a new publication on The Right to Nationality and the Secession of South Sudan: A Commentary on the Impact of the New Laws. The short report, authored by Bronwen Manby of AfriMAP, provides a detailed analysis of the new nationality more...
Open Forum
06 May 2012
In May 2012, the Africa Foundations of the Open Society convened a forum to take a critical look at the factors that will influence the African democracy and governance agenda over the next decade, to debate the paradox of unequal growth and to turn innovative ideas into action that promotes real change.  The three day event held at the Cape Town Convention Centre, featured artists and activist, politicians, academics, policy and law makers and media.  AfriMAP organized two parallel more...
Blog posting on citizenship in the Sudans
19 December 2011
On July 9, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan became Africa’s newest independent state. Among the many issues that were supposed to have been resolved before the formal secession of the new state—in fact, before the January 9 referendum that approved its creation—was the question of citizenship, and the rules for determining who would become a member of the new entity. This never happened. The legal drafting issues are quite technical, but fundamentally the problem was lack of political more...
Kenya: Comments on the draft Citizenship and Immigration Bill, 2011 by CRAI
17 May 2011
The Citizenship Rights in Africa Initiative, of which the Open Society Justice Initiative is a founder member, submitted these comments to the drafting committee for the Kenyan Citizenship and Immigration Bill, 2011.

In general, CRAI recognises that the draft bill contains many provisions that are a substantial improvement on the existing 1963 Citizenship Act. However, the submission notes serious outstanding concerns, in particular that protections against statelessness in the draft more...
Kenya: Submission to the Task Force on Citizenship and Related Provisions of the Constitution by CRAI
13 April 2011
This is a submission by the Citizenship Rights in Africa Initiative, of which the Open Society Justice Initiative is a founder member, to the Task Force on Citizenship and Related Provisions of the Constitution in Kenya, in relation to the redrafting of the Citizenship Act following the adoptoin of the 2010 Constitution.

CRAI recommends that the task force undertake a complete revision to the Citizenship Act, rather than attempting amendments to the existing text. The Act currently more...
Side-meeting on the right to a nationality at the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
14 May 2010
On 14 May, the Citizenship Rights in Africa Initiative (CRAI), the Open Society Institute's AfriMAP, AU Advocacy Programme and Justice Initiative, in collaboration with the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) hosted a discussion on on the right to a nationality in Africa and its impact on the enjoyment of other rights established by the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. The discussion was held in Banjul,  the Gambia, and timed to coincide with the 47th Ordinary more...
Comments on the Citizenship Provisions of the Draft Kenyan Constitution (draft dated 23 February 2010)
18 March 2010

This is a submission by the Citizenship Rights in Africa Initiative, of which the Open Society Justice Initiative is a founder member, to the expert panel charged with drafting Kenya's new constitution, as published in in The Nation newspaper.

The submission welcomes the provisions on citizenship in the draft Kenyan Constitution as represent a substantial advance on the content of the 1963 Constitution more...
Workshop and launch of books on citizenship in Africa
October 2009
AfriMAP worked with its sister project the Open Society Justice Initiative and the International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) to hold a two day workshop on the African Union mechanisms and protection of refugee, IDP and citizenship rights on 19-20 October 2009. The workshop was held in the margins of the AU special summit on Refugees, Returnees and IDPs, held in Kampala, Uganda, and participants discussed the lack of a right to nationality as both a cause and a consequence of forced displacement more...
Expert meeting on citizenship law in Africa
20 February 2009
AfriMAP is collaborating with the Open Society Institute’s Justice Initiative to produce a comparative study of citizenship law and discrimination in Africa. On 20 February, an expert meeting was held in London, attended by legal scholars and practitioners from Europe and Africa, at which the results of the research were presented and detailed contents of recommendations on the content of nationality laws discussed. Two documents will be published from the research later this year: a detailed monograph more...

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