Statelessness in West Africa: Newsletter #13 (April - June 2017)
WEST AFRICA BECOMES THE 1ST REGION IN THE WORLD TO ADOPT A REGIONAL PLAN OF ACTION
A new milestone in the fight against statelessness
After the three-day regional ministerial level meeting hosted by the Government of the Gambia and jointly organized by ECOWAS and UNHCR, the 15 ECOWAS Member States reviewed and validated a regional plan of action to eradicate statelessness by 2024, now referred to as the “Banjul Plan of Action”.
During the first two days of the meeting, the 15 Government focal points for statelessness issues, designated under Article 22 of the Abidjan Declaration, reviewed the plan of action, which elaborates concrete measures and specific timeframes that aim at resolving obstacles to the acquisition of nationality in the region.
The Banjul Plan of Action was validated on 9 May 2017 by the 15 ministers responsible for nationality issues. It was then adopted at the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, in Monrovia, Liberia, on 2 June 2017 and thereby became a legally binding document. Through this bold effort, West Africa confirms its worldwide leadership in the fight against statelessness.
High-level participants included the Vice-President of the Gambia, Ms. Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang, who commended the region’s determination “to address the root causes of statelessness”; the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, who stressed the importance of putting in place a robust regional institutional and legal framework to eradicate statelessness; the Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees (Protection), Mr. Volker Türk, who highlighted the exemplary commitment of the ECOWAS Member States in validating this “unique and inspiring” plan of action .