Addressing the Question of Stateless Children in the Great Lakes Region: Lessons from African Jurisprudence on Statelessness

By: E. Wanjiru

ISBN: 978-91-86910-57-0


The African continent has experienced frequent protracted conflicts and crises situations. War and conflict often exposes populations to vulnerabilities such as displacement leaving populations stateless. Children are often left exposed in situations of statelessness. The Great Lakes Region has experienced war and the ramifications of war in form of displaced and stateless communities. The Region has taken steps to resolve the problem of stateless populations. This paper looks at the question of statelessness in the region.

The overarching argument in the paper is that African jurisprudence on the questions of nationality have embraced and promoted solutions that can be imported to the region’s context. The paper uses three African Commission cases and one case determined by the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of a Child to espouse the lessons that the region can learn in eradicating the problem. The four cases are: Children of Nubian Descent in Kenya versus Kenya, Nubian Community in Kenya versus the Republic of Kenya, Mouvement Ivoirien des Droits de l’Homme v Côte d’Ivoire and Open Society Justice Initiative v. Côte d’Ivoire.

The paper is divided in four parts namely: Introduction, Conceptualising Statelessness in Africa and a discussion on the four decisions. The paper reveals that the decisions in the four cases provide valuable lessons that can complement the efforts to resolve statelessness in the region.

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