Struggles for Citizenship in Africa

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Millions of people living in Africa find themselves nonpersons in the only states they have ever known. Because they are not recognized as citizens, they cannot get their children registered at birth; they cannot access state health services; they cannot obtain employment without a work permit; and if they leave the country they may not be able to return. Most of all, they cannot vote, stand for public office, or work for state institutions.

Ultimately, such policies can lead to economic and political disaster, or even war. The conflicts in both Cote d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo have had at their hearts the right of one part of the national population to share with others on equal terms the rights and duties of citizenship.

Struggles for Citizenship in Africa brings together new material from across Africa of the most egregious examples of citizenship discrimination, and makes the case for urgent reform of laws and practices.

This book is part of the African Arguments series, published by Zed Books in association with the International African Institute, The Royal African Society, and The Social Science Research Council. The origins of the book lie in the continent-wide "Africa citizenship audits" carried out by the Open Society Justice Initiative in 2005.

Update: The French version of the book, La nationalité en Afrique, was published by Karthala and the Open Society Foundations in 2011.

More details about the book are available from Zed Books. The complete book chapters in English and French are available for download.