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West Africa Approves World’s First Action Plan to End Statelessness

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West Africa Approves World’s First Action Plan to End Statelessness

News Deeply, 09 May 2017

URL: https://www.newsdeeply.com/refugees/executive-summaries/2017/05/09
Officials from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), along with the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR), have adopted the world’s first action plan to eradicate statelessness.

Stateless people do not have citizenship in any country and often do not have access to work, education or healthcare.

The ECOWAS plan aims to eradicate statelessness in the region by 2024, a commitment made by the bloc in January 2015. The plan includes reforming legislation around statelessness, improving the use of data and guaranteeing freedom of movement around the region and access to proof of nationality through identity papers.

“There is a unique political will to eradicate stateless in West Africa. Countries are looking to protect stateless people and reform legislation so no one is excluded from obtaining nationality,” UNHCR senior regional protection officer Emmanuelle Mitte told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.