Zimbabwe: Govt, UN in Fight Against Statelessness

29 January 2020

The Government has partnered the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in a census for people living in the Diaspora to ensure they access the requisite national documents.

The project is part of a collective effort to fight statelessness through the provision of national identity documents.

This was said by UNHCR Southern African bureau deputy director, Mr Leonard Zulu, after meeting Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda and Foreign Affairs portfolio committee chairperson Cde Kindness Paradza at Parliament yesterday.

Mr Zulu said he was in the country to meet Government officials and that financial resources had been mobilised.

"I have been here since Sunday and we have had fruitful discussions with the Speaker of the National Assembly and senior Government officials.

"The task we have is to look at how we can improve on the documentation of Zimbabweans, getting documents (such as) birth certificates and identity cards to ensure that they are able to establish their strong links with the country.

"We have an action plan that we are building based on the meetings we had with Parliament in November last year. We are also discussing with the Registrar-General's Office.

"We have agreed to have a robust action plan and roadmap that clearly, will take us to the destination where Zimbabweans will be able to easily obtain identity documents," said Mr Zulu.

Article 1 (1) of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons defines a stateless person as "a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law".

UNHCR estimates that more than 10 million people have difficulties in establishing their nationality.

The problem is not only in Zimbabwe, but across the continent.

"The technical expertise support has the financial component and the project, depending on the evidence we find, we will be able to put together a proposal for our donor partners.

"I think what we have designed is very good and we have no problem with resource mobilisation. We do not know the final figure yet, but we have sufficient resources in Zimbabwe to start this project," said Mr Zulu.

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