Kuwait- Few takers seen for costly Comoros citizenship scheme

Kuwait’s announcement that tens of thousands of stateless people will be offered citizenship of the impoverished African nation of Comoros has highlighted their decades-old plight. But a representative of the community whose members demand Kuwaiti citizenship rejected the Gulf Arab state’s offer as ‘totally impractical’.

The stateless people known as Bedouns insist they were born and raised in Kuwait and thus have full rights to claim citizenship. Kuwait says a majority of the Bedouns belong to other countries and that only 34000 of them qualify for consideration of citizenship after meeting a set of stringent conditions.

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Kuwait’s stateless Bidun ‘offered Comoros citizenship’

Tens of thousands of stateless people in Kuwait – known as Bidun – could be offered citizenship of the Comoros islands off Africa, an official says.

The senior interior ministry official told a local newspaper that the Bidun would be given special applications for economic citizenship in the Comoros.

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An ambitious plan to end statelessness

It is now 60 years since stateless people received recognition in international law, and the UN has two conventions (1954 and 1961) dedicated to their protection and the regularization of their situation. Yet an estimated 10 million people worldwide still suffer the problems and indignities of having no nationality.

“It may be a bit of understatement to say that these are the two least loved multilateral human rights treaties,” said Mark Manly, head of the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) statelessness unit. “For many years they were pretty much forgotten and that was in large part because they had no UN agency promoting them.”

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Zimbabweans applying for extended special visas

More than 195,000 Zimbabweans have in recent weeks applied to remain in South Africa under the new Zimbabwe Special Permits dispensation, the home affairs department said Tuesday.

Almost another 50,000 were expected to do so by months’ end.

“In October, we received up to 5000 applications a day and therefore the department is confident that we will reach the target of processing 242,000 applications by the end of November,” home affairs chief director for permits Jack Monedi told MPs.

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East African Community is the right of the citizens

Eastern African politicians and bureaucrats owe their citizens at least one thing this decade: to prioritize and fast track the formation of the East African Community. They killed it in 1977; they shouldn’t take another generation to revive it. Why? Because it is the right of East Africans – let’s say it is our human right – to let the citizens of Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi or South Sudan to cross the borders freely, do business, fraternize, love and marry, study, seek medical treatment, holiday, look for work and be East Africans. For that is what they had been doing for millennia until the mzungu [European] came around and drew imaginary lines to separate them.

The so-called anti-colonial struggles were nothing but battles for human rights. They were about the right for native Africans to study, eat what they wished to, grow crops they wanted to grow, travel, do business, visit relatives; in other words, be Africans in their respective communities, languages, cultures, villages, homes and houses. Period. So, why are our politicians unwilling today to re-make what has always been? Is it because they don’t see it as a right; as the correct thing to do? Shouldn’t ordinary citizens then either ignore them and go on with what we have always done or insist that they legalize the union?

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