Few African countries provide for an explicit right to a nationality. Laws and practices governing citizenship leave hundreds of thousands of people in Africa without a country to which they belong. Statelessness and discriminatory citizenship practices underlie and exacerbate tensions in many regions of the continent, according to this report by the Open Society Foundations.
Citizenship Law in Africa is a comparative study by the Open Society Justice Initiative and Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project. It describes the often arbitrary, discriminatory, and contradictory citizenship laws that exist from state to state, and recommends ways that African countries can bring their citizenship laws in line with international legal norms.
The report covers topics such as citizenship by descent, citizenship by naturalization, gender discrimination in citizenship law, dual citizenship, and the right to identity documents and passports. It describes how stateless Africans are systematically exposed to human rights abuses: they can neither vote nor stand for public office; they cannot enroll their children in school, travel freely, or own property; they cannot work for the government.
The complete second edition of the report is available for download in English and French.