Citizenship Law in Africa: 3rd Edition


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Few African countries provide for an explicit right to a nationality. Laws and practices governing citizenship effectively leave hundreds of thousands of people in Africa without a country. These stateless Africans can neither vote nor stand for office; they cannot enrol their children in school, travel freely, or own property; they cannot work for the government; they are exposed to human rights abuses. Statelessness exacerbates and underlies tensions in many regions of the continent. Citizenship Law in Africa, a comparative study by two programs of the Open Society Foundations, 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 naturalisation, gender discrimination in citizenship law, dual citizenship, and the right to identity documents and passports. It is essential reading for policymakers, attorneys, and activists. This third edition is a comprehensive revision of the original text, which is also updated to reflect developments at national and continental levels. The original tables presenting comparative analysis of all the continent�s nationality laws have been improved, and new tables added on additional aspects of the law. Since the second edition was published in 2010, South Sudan has become independent and adopted its own nationality law, while there have been revisions to the laws in C�te d�Ivoire, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, Niger, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia and Zimbabwe. The African Commission on Human and Peoples� Rights and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child have developed important new normative guidance.



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Ajouté le 02 février 2015
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EAN13 9781928331124
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Citizenship Law in Africa A Comparative Study
By Bronwen Manby
Publîshed by Arîcan Mînds on behal o Open Socîety Foundatîons 224 West 57th Street New York, NY 10019 www.opensocîetyoundatî Arîcan Mînds 4 Eccleston Place, Somerset West, 7130, Cape Town, South Arîca îno@arîcanmî www.arîcanmî 2016 All contents o thîs document, unless specîfied otherwîse, are lîcensed under a Creatîve Commons Attrîbutîon Non-Commercîal 4.0 Internatîonal Lîcence ISBNs 978-1-928331-08-7 Prînt 978-1-928331-12-4 e-Book 978-1-928331-13-1 e-Pub Copîes o thîs book are avaîlable or ree download at www.arîcanmî ORDERS To order prînted copîes rom Arîca, please contact: Arîcan Mînds Emaîl: îno@arîcanmî To order prînted copîes rom outsîde Arîca, please contact: Arîcan Books Collectîve PO Box 721, Oxord OX1 9EN, UK Emaîl: orders@arîcanbookscollectî
Preface to the third edition Disclaimer Abbreviations DeInitions
Summary and recommendations The rîght to a natîonalîty în Arîcan laws Racîal, ethnîc and relîgîous dîscrîmînatîon Gender dîscrîmînatîon
Dual natîonalîty
Loss, deprîvatîon and arbîtrary non-recognîtîon
Internatîonal norms
International norms on nationality The rîght to a natîonalîty and prohîbîtîon o statelessness Natîonalîty în the context o state successîon Deprîvatîon or non-recognîtîon o natîonalîty and expulsîon rom a terrîtory
The jurîsprudence o the Arîcan human rîghts bodîes
Arîcan states’ accessîon to înternatîonal treatîes
Nationality under colonial rule and the transition to independence
The basis of nationality law today
The right to a nationality in national law
Nationality based on birth in the territory Chîldren o stateless parents or who would otherwîse be stateless Foundlîngs or chîldren o unknown parents
Nationality based on descent
Adopted children
Racial and ethnic discrimination
v vii viii ix
1 4 5 6 7 9 9 11 13
21 21 29 30 33 36
47 49 49
Gender discrimination Natîonalîty o chîldren Natîonalîty based on marrîage Partîal reorms on gender equalîty în North Arîca
Dual nationality
Nationality requirements for public ofIce Dual natîonalîty Naturalîsed persons
Rights for the African diaspora Ethîopîa Ghana
Loss and deprivation of nationality
Renunciation and reacquisition
Evidence and documentation Bîrth regîstratîon and evîdence o entîtlement to natîonalîty Proo o natîonalîty The rîght to a passport
State successions since independence Separatîon o part o a terrîtory Transers o terrîtory
Naturalisation as a “durable solution” for refugees
Appendix: Legal sources List of tables Table 1: Right to nationality based on birth in the territory Table 2: Right to nationality based on descent Table 3: Right to nationality for adopted children
Table 4: Right to transmit nationality to a spouse
Table 5: Countries permitting and prohibiting dual nationality for adults
Table 6: Right to acquire nationality by naturalisation
Table 7: Criteria for loss of nationality
Table 8: Renunciation and reacquisition
63 63 65 70
97 97 98
101 101 101
116 116 118 121
125 125 126
50 54 58 66 77 86 109 113
Preface to the third edition
Thîs îs the thîrd edîtîon o thîs book, orîgînally publîshed în 2009 and wrîtten whîle I was an employee o Open Socîety Foundatîons (OSF). The second edîtîon o 2010 încluded updates on several countrîes and some mînor correctîons. Thîs thîrd edîtîon îs a comprehensîve revîsîon o the orîgînal text, updated to reflect developments at natîonal and contînental levels, to clarîy some înterpretatîons based on my încreased understandîng o the îssues, and to present completely revîsed and împroved tables based on comparatîve analysîs o the natîonalîty laws o 54 countrîes în Arîca, as well as addîtîonal tables dealîng wîth new aspects o the law. The appendîx contaîns the updated lîst o laws în orce as o 2015 used to compîle thîs study. Among the countrîes that have adopted revîsîons to theîr natîonalîty laws o greater or lesser sîgnîficance sînce 2009/10 are Côte d’Ivoîre, Kenya, Lîbya, Malî, Maurîtanîa, Namîbîa, Nîger, Senegal, Seychelles, South Arîca, Sudan, Tunîsîa and Zîmbabwe. Perhaps the most sîgnîficant other developments wîth împacts on natîonalîty law and the rîght to a natîonalîty are the secessîon o South Sudan rom Sudan, and the împact o South Sudan’s new natîonalîty on both countrîes, and the transer o sovereîgnty o the Bakassî penînsula rom Nîgerîa to Cameroon. There have also been major developments în standard-settîng at the Arîcan and înternatîonal levels. The Arîcan Commîssîon on Human and Peoples’ Rîghts adopted two resolutîons and a study on the rîght to natîonalîty în Arîca, leadîng up to the adoptîon în July 2015 o a drat Protocol to the Arîcan Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rîghts on the Specîfic Aspects o the Rîght to a Natîonalîty and the Eradîcatîon o Statelessness în Arîca. The Arîcan Commîttee o Experts on the Rîghts and Welare o the Chîld handed down an împortant decîsîon on the natîonalîty o chîldren o Nubîan orîgîn în Kenya în 2011, whîch înormed a General Comment on Artîcle 6 o the Arîcan Charter on the Rîghts and Welare o the Chîld (name, bîrth regîstratîon and a natîonalîty) adopted by the Commîttee în 2014. The UN Hîgh Commîssîoner or Reugees (UNHCR) has also adopted a number o guîdelînes and other documents on statelessness and în 2014 launched a major campaîgn to end statelessness wîthîn 10 years. In Arîca, UNHCR’s regîonal oice în Dakar has collaborated wîth the Economîc Communîty o West Arîcan States (ECOWAS), leadîng to the adoptîon în 2015 o a regîonal declaratîon on the urgency o addressîng statelessness.
The first edîtîon o thîs book was publîshed at the same tîme as myStruggles for Citizenship in Africa(Zed Books, 2009), whîch gathered case studîes o the practîce o statelessness and cîtîzenshîp dîscrîmînatîon în Botswana, Côte d’Ivoîre, Democratîc Republîc o Congo, Ethîopîa, Kenya, Maurîtanîa, Nîgerîa, Sîerra Leone, Swazîland, Tanzanîa, Uganda, Zambîa, Zîmbabwe and elsewhere. Thîs text draws on the înormatîon înStruggles for Citizenship in Africa, as well as on several subsequent publîcatîons, încludîngStatelessness in Southern Africa, a brîefing paper or a UNHCR Regîonal Conerence on Statelessness în Southern Arîca în November 2011, andNationality, Migration and Statelessness in West Africa, UNHCR and IOM, 2015. The tables and înormatîon în the first edîtîon o the report were also updated or use by the Arîcan Commîssîon on Human and Peoples’ Rîghts în îts study onThe Right to Nationality in Africaadopted în May 2014. The genesîs o thîs report lay în înormatîon collected as part o a 14-country “Arîca cîtîzenshîp audît” înîtîated by Chîdî Odînkalu and Julîa Harrîngton o the Open Socîety Justîce Inîtîatîve workîng wîth the Arîca oundatîons în the Open Socîety Foundatîons network. Inormatîon on thîs survey and îts 1 partîcîpants îs avaîlable at the websîte o the Open Socîety Justîce Inîtîatîve. A group o natîonalîty experts and advocates met în London on 20 February 2009 to dîscuss the recommendatîons or thîs report. Those who attended the meetîng were: Adrîan Berry, Chaloka Beyanî, Brad Blîtz, Deîrdre Clancy, Jîm Goldston, René de Groot, Julîa Harrîngton, Adam Husseîn, Khotî Kamanga, Ibrahîma Kane, Mark Manly, Dîsmas Nkunda, Chîdî Odînkalu, Louîse Olîvîer, Gaye Sowe, Souleymane Sagna, Ozîas Tungwarara and Patrîck Weîl. Abdelsalam Hassan Abdelsalam, Jorunn Brandvoll, Laurîe Fransman, Susîn Park, Santhosh Persaud and Laura van Waas also provîded înput on the recommendatîons. Whîle most o the rest o the book has been revîsed sînce 2009, the recommendatîons remaîn unchanged. Thanks to all my colleagues at the Open Socîety Foundatîons or theîr support and guîdance over many years o workîng on these îssues.
Bronwen ManbyJanuary 2016