Emmanuelle Mitte


‘Foreigners everywhere, nationals nowhere’: Southern Africa’s changing response to UN campaign on statelessness

Statelessness, once a ‘forgotten human rights crisis’, has been put at the forefront of a global agenda with the UN’s #Ibelong campaign. Among the most tragic victims of statelessness are children found abandoned in a state and who, in most Southern African states, would as a result never have any nationality. Condemned to a life in a limbo that extends even to their adult years, and that may even be inherited by their children, these stateless persons illustrate how essential the right to nationality is to every person. But that is just one of many problems associated with statelessness. Here, Emmanuelle Mitte, UNHCR expert on the subject, explains the background and shares some encouraging news: most Southern African states that once simply ignored the problem, have now begun to join the movement to end statelessness.