Legislative omission or everyday creation: Assessing statelessness in Namibia
Despite a plethora of confirmed cases of statelessness in Namibian, the country has no procedure for or policy on determining whether an individual is stateless or not. Moreover, the country’s national statistics do not include stateless people despite the fact that the media and official reports often draw attention to cases which involve individuals who lack legal documentation or are of undetermined citizenship, some of whom would be regarded as stateless. This study explores the factors that that give rise to and sustain statelessness in Namibia. Drawing upon qualitative data, the study highlights shortcomings in the legal framework covering citizenship and in its administration. It advances the argument that legislatively the country has overcome much of its colonial legacy, which tied citizenship to ethnic and racial origin. The paper contends that the legal obstacles to child citizenship, a relic of colonial times, make it difficult to solve the problem of statelessness and undocumentedness in Namibia.
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