Legislators were yesterday urged to monitor the government in issuing birth certificates, identity documents and other particulars to prevent statelessness.

The call was made yesterday by senate deputy president Mike Nyambuya at a United Nations High Commission for Refugees dialogue with Parliamentarians on nationality and statelessness in Zimbabwe.

The meeting, held at a hotel in Vumba, was meant to dialogue on the significance of the 1961 Convection on the reduction of statelessness and the recommended legal safeguards in addressing the problem.

In his keynote address at the start of the three-day workshop, Nyambuya said statelessness was a major concern in the country and across the globe.

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“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,” he said.

“Members of Parliament must monitor the bureaucratic behaviour of governments in issuing birth certificates, identity documents and other particulars so that people do not become stateless.

“Statelessness is caused by excessive requirements 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.”

Nyambuya said statelessness occurred for a variety of reasons, which include gender discrimination, discrimination against minority groups, failure to include all habitual residents in the body of citizens when a state becomes independent.

“Approximately 12 million people are stateless and statelessness can have a terrible impact on the lives of individuals and the problem of statelessness can be prevented through adequate nationality legislation and procedures as well as universal birth registration,” he said.