Statelessness Due To Lack Of Birth Certificate Still Prevalent In Africa

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Many people who do not have a birth certificate find it challenging to get a formal education. As a result, these individuals are in danger of becoming stateless, which implies that they will not be recognised as citizens of any country.

Boniface Yepenui is one of them, yet his case is just one among many in Africa. He has no method of demonstrating his link to his nation of origin, Togo, and had no other documentation.

“The impact this had on me was that it delayed my studies. I wanted to join the army but I couldn’t because I didn’t have a certificate of nationality. It was after enormous difficulties that I was able to get my birth certificate,” Yepenui said.

According to the UN High Commission for Refugees, at least 1 million people in West Africa are stateless. Stateless people are often marginalised, discriminated against, and especially exposed to exploitation and abuse.

About 13 countries in the area have accepted international accords on statelessness to combat the problem, but there are still challenges.

“I think countries are looking at the issues that are problematic. They talked about the procedures and administrative barriers that exist in different countries. They also talked about the reluctance to grant identity cards to some people, as well as the reluctance to issue birth certificates in some regions.” said Monique Ekoko, UNHCR representative in Togo.

Approximately ten million individuals worldwide are stateless. The UN refugee agency hopes to eradicate this epidemic by 2024.


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