Sadc countries urged to domesticate laws on statelessness

VICE-PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged Sadc member States to protect refugees by ensuring that they domesticate international laws on statelessness. BY XOLISANI NCUBE

Source: Sadc countries urged to domesticate laws on statelessness – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 12, 2016

Opening the Sadc Parliamentary Forum (PF) plenary session in Harare yesterday, Mnangagwa said member States should push to domesticate international instruments that seek to protect stateless people.

“As legislators, my rallying call is for you to ensure that these international commitments are domesticated in our national laws by enacting enabling legislation which establishes standards for avoidance of statelessness through provision on acquisition, renunciation, loss and deprivation of nationality,” Mnangagwa said.

The Sadc PF is an umbrella body of all legislative assemblies in the region and seeks to improve regional integration through parliamentary involvement, as well as promotion of human rights, gender equality, good governance, democracy and transparency.

The forum also seeks to promote peace and stability, economic cooperation, networking of MPs, and discussions on development and several other issues affecting the region.
The VP, who is also in charge of the Justice and Parliamentary Affairs ministry, said most African States had ratified the United Nations Convention on Children’s Rights which provides for “the right to acquire nationality”.

The meeting being hosted by the Parliament of Zimbabwe focuses mainly on refuges and stateless people.

“It is estimated that about 12 million people throughout the world are adversely affected by statelessness. Estimates indicate that hundreds of the thousands of individuals in the Southern Africa region are among those that are no State ‘considers as a national under the operation of its law,” Mnangagwa said.

A non-governmental organisation, Katswe Sisterhood, will also take advantage of the forum to advance issues of provision of free sanitary wear to women.

Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe had offered to host the headquarters of the Sadc Parliamentary Forum’s Parliamentary Studies Institute.

The Sadc PF’s women caucus also urged member States to seriously debate the issue of statelessness, noting that women and children were the most affected throughout the bloc.
Sadc PF secretary-general Esau Chiviya paid tribute to the Zimbabwean government as the country was hosting the regional session for the fifth time.