Legislators urged to be govt watchdogs
Vumba(Pungwe News-New Ziana)-Parliamentarians must monitor the bureaucratic behavior of governments in issuing of birth certificacates, identity documents and other particulars so that people do not become stateless, Senate deputy president Mike Nyambuya said.
He made this call this while addressing the dialogue with parliamentarians on Nationality and Statelessness in Zimbabwe which was convened by United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHR) Friday in the resort area of Vumba.
According to statistics by United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHR), between 10-12 million people worldwide are stateless.
Against this background, UNHCR is running a campaign to end statelessness by 2024 under the #IBELONG.
“As MPs, we need to enact laws that address the different challenges which may cause statelessness. For example, some children are born of parents where the father and mother are from different countries, and therefore, there is confusion on which country they belong to.
“In addition, children born of refugees encounter problems in the sometimes they are granted temporary with birth registration, which does not state their nationality. Another challenge is that people with dual citizenship are also asked to renounce their nationality with acquiring another nationality,” said Nyambuya.
The deputy senate president said statelessness is caused by excessive requirement for documentation, migratory workers, broken family ties, unaccompanied minors, and situations of discrimination of populations, for example women.
“The consequences of statelessness are poverty, failure to get identity documents, failure to get education, food insecurity, lack of housing and formal employment, discrimination, exploitation and other human rights issues,” said Nyambuya.
To avert the situation, the senate deputy president said, parliament should therefore act to serve the needs of human kind.
“There is therefore need, for honorable members, for us to act, in order to serve the needs of human kind, “said Nyambuya.
He went on to say the country was no spared from challenges of Statelessness,adding that there is an urgent need to avail country data on Stateless people in the country.
“Farm workers of foreign origin represent one of the most vulnerable groups In Zimbabwe, “adding “An estimated 30 percent of two million farm workers and their families are believed to be of foreign descent”.
Nyambuya said many were born in Zimbabwe but did not have birth certificates or national identity cards.
“They have also lost ties with their country of origin and have no place to return to when evicted from the farms, “he said, adding that there is also need to look at the issue of statelessness with gender lens as it impacts more on women and children.
“Women experience statelessness physically due to human trafficking, xephonobia, civil unrest and economic challenges, which have caused migration to other countries where people then seek refugee status, “said the deputy senate president.
He, however, said government has put in place pieces of legislation to deal with statelessness.
“Citizenship is one of the important rights provided for in the constitution of Zimbabwe. It is about belongings, identity and access to rights, benefits and priviladges,”said Nyambuya.
He assured that parliament will continue to make laws that serve the interest of the poor and stateless persons, including women and children.
Addressing the same gathering, UNHR Acting Country Representative, Shana Kaninda said their organization is committed to end statelessness by 2024.
He added that although the campaign was ambitious but with objectives, stronger forms of advocacy and leadership of parliament as custodians of human rights it was achievable.