ECOWAS Approves Declaration to Eradicate Statelessness

A Cross Section of ECOWAS Chief of Defence Staff during their meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan today Monday at the State House in Abuja

The Heads of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has adopted the Abidjan Ministerial Declaration to eradicate statelessness in member states. Statelessness is a condition whereby an individual or group of persons have no national identity. At least 750,000 people are stateless or at risk of statelessness in West Africa, while more than 10 million worldwide are stateless.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement in Lagos that the declaration was unanimously adopted at the 47th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State in Accra, Ghana. The statement quoted UNHCR Regional Representative in West Africa, MS Liz Ahua, to have described adoption of the declaration by the leaders as a step in the right direction.

“It is a very important step in the fight against this plight which affects hundreds of thousands of people in West Africa. “The endorsement of the Abidjan Ministerial Declaration by the Heads of States clearly indicates their will to eradicate this phenomenon and places the region at the forefront of this fight,’’ Ahua said.

The statement also quoted UNHCR’s Head of Statelessness Unit, Ms Emmanuelle Mitte, to have expressed optimism at the adoption of the declaration.

“By renewing the commitments made in Abidjan, the highest authorities of ECOWAS Member States signal the importance of implementing them to their respective governments. “This will also make it much easier to monitor the Abidjan Declaration, in which Member States requested UNHCR and ECOWAS to collaborate,’’ Mitte said.
The statement also noted that many West African States had formally joined UNHCR’s global campaign to eradicate statelessness by 2024. It added that member states had developed national plans to end statelessness in their countries as well as ratifying the UN Conventions on Statelessness.

Source: Vanguard

Publish Date: 

Thursday, 21 May 2015