Deprivation of Citizenship

Topics: Human rights, Africa, Nationality law Pages: 167 (53253 words) Published: June 20, 2012
Citizenship Law in Africa A Comparative Study

By Bronwen Manby

Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project (AfriMAP) Open Society Justice Intitiative

Second edition October 2010, incorporating revisions to the tables and other information relevant to Kenya, Libya, Namibia, South Africa, Sudan and Zimbabwe. Copyright © 2010 Open Society Institute. All rights reserved. ISBN: 978-1-936133-29-1 Published by Open Society Foundations 400 West 59th Street New York, NY 10019 USA For more information, contact: AfriMAP P.O. Box 678, Wits 2050 Johannesburg, South Africa Open Society Justice Initiative 400 West 59th Street New York, NY 10019 USA Cover design by Dennis Ahlgrim/Ahlgrim Design Group Text layout and printing by COMPRESS.dsl Cover photo by Kambou Sia/AFP/Getty Images

Sources and acknowledgments Disclaimer Abbreviations Definitions v vii viii ix

African citizenship law Racial, ethnic, and religious discrimination Gender discrimination Naturalisation Dual citizenship Due process: Revocation of citizenship and expulsion of citizens International norms Recommendations

2 3 5 5 7 8 9 10

International norms on citizenship
The right to a nationality State succession and citizenship Discrimination and arbitrary deprivation of citizenship Due process in relation to expulsion The jurisprudence of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights

18 21 23 25 25

Citizenship under colonial rule The basis of citizenship law today Right to a nationality Citizenship by descent Racial and ethnic discrimination Gender discrimination Botswana: The Unity Dow Citizenship Case Reforms in North Africa Ethiopia: The constitution and law are gender neutral, but practice is not

28 32 34 39 42 45
48 50 53


C I t I z e n S h I P l Aw In AfrICA

Proof of nationality
Supreme Court rules on proof of nationality in DRC


Dual citizenship
A change of mind on dual citizenship in East Africa


Citizenship by naturalisation Citizenship requirements for public office Egypt: Dual citizenship and political rights

64 73

Rights for the African diaspora
Ethiopia Ghana

76 77

Loss and deprivation of citizenship Right to identity documents and passports Egypt recognises the right of adherents of “non-recognised” religions to documentation

78 86

Citizenship as a “durable solution” for refugees Appendix: Legal sources Index

88 96 100

List of tables
Table 1: Countries providing a right to a nationality Table 2: Right to citizenship by descent Table 3: Right to pass citizenship to a spouse Table 4: Countries permitting and prohibiting dual citizenship for adults Table 5: Right to acquire citizenship as an adult by naturalisation or registration/declaration Table 6: Criteria for loss of citizenship 38 40 49 63 68 84


Sources and acknowledgments
This report was written by Bronwen Manby, of the Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project (AfriMAP) of the Open Society Foundations, based on a comparative analysis of the citizenship laws of 53 countries in Africa. The report is twinned with a book on citizenship in Africa published by Zed Books during 2009 in its “African Arguments” series. The book gathers case studies of the practice of statelessness and citizenship discrimination in Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritania, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere. These case studies also inform the analysis in the current report. An almost complete set of African citizenship laws has been collected. These laws are listed in the appendix at the end of the report and, where not previously available, have also been suppled to the UN Refugee Agency for inclusion on their website in the Refworld database of resources. The study also refers to national and regional jurisprudence, and to...
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