RIGHT TO NATIONALITY AND ERADICATION OF STATELESSNESS
In 2009 AfriMAP, now the AfRO, published two ground breaking studies focusing on issues of exclusion and citizenship in Africa. Those reports stated that Africa’s wars are fuelled by many factors, most notoriously, natural resources and land. However, citizenship also ranks atop the contributors to conflict on the African continent. The rampant and unresolved issue of discrimination of citizenship has led to conflict in Côte d’Ivoire and Democratic Republic of Congo. The studies made an urgent case for the right to a nationality to be included in Africa’s laws. The studies also argued the case that citizenship discrimination in Africa has reached a crises point. Millions of Africans without citizenship are deprived of the right to vote, to access public services, possibility to leave or return to their countries of origin since they do not have travel documents, or even transfer their nationality to their spouses or children, and right to register their child at birth or enrol them in school. In advancing ”Right to Nationality and Eradication of Stateless” Agenda, The East Africa Civil Society Forum (EACSOF), Pan African Lawyers’ Union (PALU) in partnership with Open Society Foundation’s Africa Regional Office (AfRO) and International Refugee Rights, organized a forum for CSOs at The East Africa Hotel, Arusha Tanzania, on the 26th November, 2015. The meeting accorded CSOs the opportunity to share information on the recent findings and recommendations of continental studies1 indicating a need for a protocol on the rights to a nationality in Africa. Additionally, due focus was paid on Gender, Burundi Crisis and the concept of accelerated regional integration agenda, which is hampered by policies of exclusion at the regional level. A key outcome of the meeting was the need for CSOs to in one voice and with relevant stakeholders to minimize the cost of statelessness and come up with new rules and policies on the issue, furthermore CSOs should take advantage of the year of Human Rights, 2016 to push for the Right to Nationality and Eradication of Stateless agenda by sharing their technical expertise and advocating for political goodwill for instance at EAC level CSOs should advocate for Enriching Draft Gender Equality Bill to incorporate Right To Nationality.
EACSOF Uganda Chapter in collaboration with EASSI need to champion to advocate for inclusion of R2N in the EAC Gender Equality Bill. EACSOF will strive to present reports and communique to the East Africa Legislative assembly& EAC Summit to discuss statelessness, nationality and citizenship issues.