East Africa: Childhood statelessness workshop with NGOs

Civil society and UNHCR participants working in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania during the regional childhood statelessness workshop in Nairobi, Kenya ©UNHCR/Caroline Opile.

On 17-18 December 2019, UNHCR and UNICEF co-convened a regional advocacy workshop on childhood statelessness in Nairobi, Kenya. The event was organized as part of the two agencies’ regional joint strategy to address childhood statelessness in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, developed under the umbrella of the UNHCR-UNICEF Coalition on Every Child’s Right to a Nationality.

The workshop gathered more than 30 participants from civil society organizations (CSOs) from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. These CSOs work on issues related to statelessness, human rights and child protection and were eager to strengthen their advocacy related to the right of every child to acquire a nationality.

As a result of this workshop, most of these civil society organizations formalized their membership to the Coalition and agreed to strengthen their role in an emerging regional network and started developing an advocacy strategy to address childhood statelessness in their respective country, which includes the realization of universal birth registration in their respective countries.

Participants improved their knowledge on existing gaps in domestic nationality legal framework and practices, as well as systems relating to nationality, birth registration and documentation. The importance of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness was highlighted, especially with regards to how this instrument can prevent childhood statelessness.

Moving forward, the CSOs will form country working groups in order to finalize their respective advocacy strategies to end childhood statelessness by March 2020. Drawing on contributions from these country level advocacy strategies, a regional advoacy approach to address childhood statelessness will also be established to galvanise momentum in East Africa.


Click here to read more articles from the UNHCR and UNICEF Coalition.

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