The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has adopted strategies to eradicate statelessness in the sub-region by 2024.
During a 3-day ministerial conference that began on Monday in Gambia’s capital Banjul, experts from the bloc’s 15 member states resolved to finalize a plan of action developed in line with the Abidjan Declaration adopted in February 2015, as a commitment to set measures to end the phenomenon.
Estimates indicate that over one million people in West Africa are stateless, while 60 million lack documentation proving their identity or nationality.
The experts said statelessness has considerable costs in terms of human rights , security and socio-economic development as it causes the marginalization of communities and their exclusion from mainstream society.
ECOWAS with the support of UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) has focused on the challenges presented by statelessness through efforts aimed at addressing its root course and defining ways to eradicate the menace.
The draft plan of action is under review and entails six strategic support measures to tackle statelessness in the sub-region.