People's Right to a Nationality and the Eradication of Statelessness in Africa
The right to nationality, enshrined in art 15 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, is absent in the 1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, known as the Banjul Charter. On-going efforts by African institutions to address this gap, with a view to eradicating statelessness in the continent have, however, focused on the right to nationality as an individual right. This has undermined the spirit of the Banjul Charter, which consecrates peoples’ rights as an African specificity. This article highlights the Banjul-led African human rights system and its specificities of human rights, particularly with regard to collective community and peoples’ rights. Based on the recognition and communitarian theories, it examines different concepts related to collective rights and highlights the manifestation of peoples’ rights in African case law. It then analyses the nexus between peoples’ rights to nationality and statelessness in the continent. It concludes that the eradication of statelessness by 2024 in Africa cannot be effective unless the focus is on peoples’ collective rights to nationality.