Statelessness in West Africa: Newsletter #14 (July - September 2017)

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 30 Sep 2017 View Original


Accession to International Conventions on Statelessness (Goal. 1.1)

  • Burkina Faso acceded to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness on 3 August 2017, marking an important milestone for the country in its commitment to eradicate statelessness as well as for the region, where 12 of the 15 ECOWAS Member States are now party to both the 1954 and 1961 Conventions.

National Legislation Reforms (Goal 1.3)

  • In July, Sierra Leone took a significant step toward ending statelessness with the amendment by the Parliament of the Citizenship Act, which previously contained a discriminatory clause that did not allow women to pass their nationality on to their children in certain circumstances. With this reform, equality between men and women with regard to transmitting their nationality is guaranteed, bringing Sierra Leone in line with the commitments made by the ECOWAS Member States in the Abidjan Declaration and the Banjul Action Plan.

Advocacy & Awareness (Goal. 4)

  • Côte d’Ivoire: The population of Guiglo, a town close to the border with Liberia, benefitted from an awareness raising campaign on the risks related to lack of birth registration. According to the Service for Assistance to Refugees and Stateless Persons, 25,000 children do not have birth certificates. In response, civil society, with the support of UNHCR, organized two awareness-raising campaigns in July on birth registration through local radio stations in Guiglo.

  • Côte d’Ivoire: Students from the University Félix Houphouet Boigny in Abidjan participated in August in discussion sessions on statelessness organized by UNHCR

  • Senegal: Children helped raise awareness of the risks of statelessness among hundreds of thousands of Senegalese people through the Summer Penc competition broadcasted on television. Summer Penc is a short film contest for children between the ages of 12 and 17, including stateless and refugee children. The Short films touched on various topics, among which, statelessness, birth registration and civil registration. The competition is aired on national television.