Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda 

Operational Context

None of the three States have complete legal safeguards to ensure that no child is born stateless under their territory. In Kenya, there is an estimated 18,500 stateless persons, which comprises members of the Shona and Pemba communities, as well as descendants from Burundi and Rwanda migrants as well as other minority groups.

In Uganda, the lack of the complete safeguards combined with a constitutional list of ethnic groups considered as indigenous communities, excluded some children from attribution of nationality at birth, which has greatly impacted their enjoyment of human rights. This particularly affects some minority communities, such as the Maragoli.

In Tanzania, despite some clauses in the law providing for attribution of nationality based on birth on the territory authorities’ interpretation of the law is that a child can only inherit the Tanzanian nationality through their Tanzanian parents and there is no safeguard to grant nationality to stateless persons born on their territory neither for children of unknown origin found in the country.

The risks of statelessness due to a lack of safeguards, at times combined with discriminatory law and practices is exacerbated by low birth registration particularly in Kenya and Tanzania. In addition, none of the three countries has acceded to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness despite the 2017 Brazzaville Declaration to Eradicate Statelessness being adopted.

This strategy is focused on strengthening civil society advocacy efforts in addressing childhood statelessness. It aims at strengthening the role of civil society organizations in the emerging regional network on statelessness in East Africa and increasing civil society contribution to the reform of domestic legal frameworks related to statelessness and birth registration.

Strategy Objectives

  1. Promoting law reform, and its implementation, to ensure safeguards in nationality laws to prevent and/or reduce statelessness among children.

Goal: Increase awareness of statelessness and equip a range of selected civil society organizations with the necessary knowledge and skills to promote and advocate for legal solutions to prevent and reduce statelessness among children. 

  1. Promoting accession to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

Goal: Support efforts of civil society organizations to advocate with decision-makers in concerned States on the accession to the 1961 Convention and its domestication into national laws.

  1. Promoting the improvement of birth registration to prevent statelessness.

Goal: Assist civil society organizations to advocate and mobilize support to improve access to birth registration, including late birth registration procedures, to minority and cross border communities as well as those with particular status (migratory, refugees, stateless).


Strategy Timeframe: 2019 to 2020

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