The identified causes of statelessness in Madagascar can be divided into the following groups:
– Ethnic discrimination faced by communities that have been in the country for several generations, such as the Karana, people of Comorian descent and people of Chinese descent;
– Lack of public awareness of recent reforms to the nationality law to allow mothers to confer their nationality to their children on an equal basis as men;
– Lack of sufficient legal protections to prevent statelessness amongst adopted children and foundlings; and
– Birth registration procedures that are not harmonized and that pose challenges for undocumented and stateless parents to register their children.
Stateless children with a Malagasy mother who were previously unable to acquire nationality now have access to nationality. Information about this positive development still needs to be disseminated among the affected population along with concrete information on how people can benefit from it. The nationality law needs provisions to adequately safeguard against statelessness where a child is born stateless on the territory, or where the child is a foundling or an adopted child. A national strategy to reform the civil registration is currently under preparation and foresees the introduction of a law to facilitate retroactive registration of births.
Sougrabay Ibrahim has her picture taken at home with her grandchildren in Mahajanga, Madagascar. She is a member of the Karana community and despite living in Madagascar her entire life she remains stateless © UNHCR/ Roger Arnold
1. All persons who were affected by reforms, giving mothers equal rights as fathers to confer their nationality to their children, are aware and benefitting from the reforms, including through legal assistance.
Goal 1: Women confer their nationality to their children (newborns or stateless).
Goal 2: Affected persons are aware of the recent changes in the law and understand the implications. They know how to access nationality if benefitting from the amendments.
Goal 3: Persons are able to receive legal assistance in accessing nationality.
2. Law reform to ensure that the nationality law includes adequate safeguards to prevent statelessness amongst children.
Goal 1: Full domestic implementation of Art. 6(3) and (4) of the ACRWC by 2019
Goal 2: Art. 11 and Art. 18 are revised or deleted by 2019 in line with international standards on non-discrimination, the 1961 Statelessness Convention and the CRPD (ratified in 2015) in order to eliminate any form of discrimination
3. National strategy to reform civil registration and vital statistics is adopted and includes the objective of preparing a law that facilitates retroactive birth registration.
Goal 1: National Strategy adopted and endorsed by relevant national authorities
Goal 2: Law on reform of CRVS adopted (2018)