Thousands of Zimbabweans ‘deemed stateless’ due to lack of essential documents

Thousands of Zimbabweans are struggling to access education, healthcare and housing because they have been classed as stateless, Amnesty International says.

The rights group’s report – We Are Like “Stray Animals”details how Zimbabwean nationality laws have left generations of migrant workers and their families marginalised in the only country they have ever called home.

Survivors of the Gukurahundi massacres of the 1980s – one of the bloodiest episodes of former President Robert Mugabe’s rule – are also locked out of citizenship, it says.

This is because they cannot provide the death certificates for relatives, which are required to prove Zimbabwean nationality.

Parents are denied birth certificates for their children if they cannot present their own, leaving their children facing precarious futures.

“Without the necessary identity documents, many stateless children are unable to access education. Those who do attend school are often forced to drop-out, or prevented from sitting their final exams,” the report said.

Amnesty International is calling on the Zimbabwean government to ensure the registration and restoration of Zimbabwean nationality to all those entitled to it, as provided for under the constitution, including all those born and raised in Zimbabwe to foreign parent.

Approximately 300,000 Zimbabweans are currently at risk of statelessness, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.