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Africa’s forgotten stateless population | News | Africa

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In the Kiambaa area on the outskirts of Kenya’s capital Nairobi, it’s not unusual to hear hymns sung in the Shona language. It’s more unusual, however, when you consider that Shona is one of the main languages of Zimbabwe.

The district is home to over 4 500 Shona people; many of whom are first or second generation Zimbabweans whose grandparents trekked to Kenya in the 1960s to establish the Gospel of God Church.
But although they were born and raised in this country, thanks to dated citizenship laws they are not recognised as Kenyan nationals, nor do they have any official connection with Zimbabwe.
They are, in effect, stateless.

Most Shona people living in Kenya would be happy to be recognised as citizens of any country. Without identity cards, they are barred from accessing good jobs, opening a bank account, buying a house and even getting married. Almost everyone here has a story of how they were held back from life-changing opportunities because of their statelessness.

“I was born, raised and educated here,” a Shona man known only as Kutenda told DW. “I played handball for my school up to the national level and we were nominated to go to Sweden. All the other students were Kenyans and they quickly got their passports. But I never got to go, even though I was the captain. I needed a passport which I didn’t have. I was playing to represent a country which has never recognised me as one of its own.”

But the Shona people are not alone in their plight. Across the continent, thousands of people are considered stateless and there are growing calls for international organisations and governments to do something about it. The 32nd African Union (AU) Heads of State and Government Summit officially ended on Monday after two days of talks between the leaders of 55 member states. This year’s theme was ‘The Year of Refugees, Returnees and IDPs (internally displaced persons): Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.’ Conspicuously absent from the talks, however, was a concrete plan to address the issue of statelessness.

“We need to focus more to solve the problem of refugees, IDPs and migrants in a comprehensive manner,” new chair of the AU, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, said during the closing of the summit.

Understanding statelessness

In international law, a stateless person is defined as someone who is “not considered as a national by any state under the operation of its law.” The exact number of stateless people around the world is unknown; however the UNHCR estimates there are approximately 12 million, with over 715,000 in Africa alone — though the actual number is likely to be far higher. A person may find themselves stateless as a result of discrimination based on ethnicity, religion or gender, the transfer of territory between existing states, or conflicting nationality laws.

“When you do not exist by law, you are extremely vulnerable to abuse and exploitation,” UNHCR Assistant Representative Catherine Hamon Sharpe told DW. “Vulnerable people can be easily manipulated, they can be trafficked…so they suffer a whole lot of human rights violations. Every person should be entitled to a nationality.”

The African perspective

Statelessness is increasingly being recognised as a major problem in Africa. However, it remains poorly documented — partly because the official stateless population significantly overlaps with a much larger population of undocumented people who are unaware of their official nationality status. There is also a common misconception that all refugees are stateless.

The problem is particularly acute on the continent for a number of reasons, including the history of partition and migration as a result of ongoing conflict.  Many states currently lack the capacity to properly respond to waves of migration, which contribute to the stateless population. There have also been cases of statelessness being used deliberately as a tool of political persecution and exclusion.

In most African states, nationality laws are based on the concepts of jus soli, or ‘right of soil,’ and jus sanguinis, or ‘right of blood.’ Under the former, the person can obtain citizenship if they are born in that particular country, while the latter bases a person’s nationality on the origin of their parents. In many cases, states which primarily base their nationality laws on the principle of jus soli prevent populations who are away from their ‘historic’ homeland to apply for citizenship of that country, while at the same time being denied nationality of their country of residence due to laws based on jus sanguinis.

“They are in limbo, because they are not protected by the citizenship of their new country and at the same time they are not protected by their country of origin because they are no longer citizens,” Cristiano d’Orsi, a research fellow and lecturer in Refugee and Migration Law at the Univerisity of Johannesburg told DW.

Perhaps the best known example of an ongoing stateless crisis in Africa due in part to complicated citizenship laws is in Ivory Coast. The estimated stateless population is currently 700 000. The majority of these people are migrants of Burkinabe descent and were not considered eligible for Ivorian nationality following the country’s independence in 1960. A further constitutional amendment in 1972, which prohibited foreigners who had not already registered from becoming citizens, effectively left thousands of families and future generations stateless.

Making progress?

Thankfully there have been recent signs of progress towards tackling the issue of statelessness across Africa. The Abidjan Declaration signed by the Heads of State of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2017 highlighted the political will to address the problem. Meanwhile in Tanzania in 2018, the African Court on Human and People’s Rights ruled that the country arbitrarily deprived a man of Tanzanian citizenship and ordered the government to fix the gaps in its citizenship legislation, potentially paving the way for other countries to follow suit.

“The African Union in fact has a very interesting proposal to adopt a protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the right to a nationality and the eradication of statelessness in Africa,” Bronwen Manby, an independent consultant in the field of human rights told DW. “And that would be an important normative statement about the minimum content of laws in order to avoid statelessness.”

Another solution could be the introduction of an African Union passport, which is currently in the works and may be introduced as early as 2020. Ultimately however, there are limits to what international organisations and courts can do to solve the problem of statelessness.

“The countries that are affected should try to solve the problem domestically,” said d’Orsi. “Because the question of statelessness is basically a domestic problem.”

Andrew Wasike contributed to this article. — Deutsche Welle

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Riot police squads intervene as pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters clash in Montreal

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People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.


People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.

  • Violence
    between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters in Montreal was condemned by
    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
  • Montreal’s
    city police force intervened and declared the protests illegal after tensions
    heightened and clashes broke out.
  • Israeli
    strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
    toll in almost a week of clashes.

Montreal
– Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday condemned the violence and
“despicable rhetoric” that marked several weekend protests throughout
the country, after clashes between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters in
Montreal.

The
worst violence in years, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem, is raging between the
Jewish state and Islamist militants.

Israeli
strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
toll in almost a week of deadly clashes.

Speaking
after protests in Montreal, Trudeau condemned what he said was “despicable
rhetoric and violence we saw on display in some protests this weekend”.

While
insisting on the “right to assemble peacefully and express themselves
freely in Canada”, Trudeau stressed in a tweet that there was no tolerance
for “antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind”.

Earlier
on Sunday, Montreal police used tear gas following clashes between pro-Israel
and pro-Palestinian protesters.

Several
hundred demonstrators, draped in Israeli flags, had gathered in a central
Montreal square to express solidarity with the Jewish state.

‘Protesting is a right’

Although
the protest started peacefully, tensions ratcheted up with the arrival of
pro-Palestinian demonstrators and clashes soon broke out.

The
SPVM, Montreal’s city police force, declared the protests illegal, and squads
of riot police intervened, using tear gas to separate and disperse the two
groups, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

The
police spent much of the afternoon in pursuit of the pro-Palestinian
protesters, who spread out and regrouped in commercial streets in the city centre.

Following
the clashes, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said on Twitter that
“protesting is a right”, but that “intolerance, violence and
anti-Semitism have no place here”.

She said:

Montreal is a city of peace.

Several
thousand pro-Palestinian demonstrators had gathered on Saturday in central
Montreal to denounce what they said were Israeli repression and “war
crimes” in Gaza.

“Terrorist
Israel”, some protesters chanted, while others held up a banner that read,
“Stop the genocide of Palestinian children”.

Pro-Palestinian
protests happened the same day in multiple Canadian cities, including Toronto,
Ottawa and Vancouver.


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Peter Thiel Helps Fund an App That Tells You What to Do

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“How would you feel about being able to pay to control multiple aspects of another person’s life?” asks the BBC.

“A new app is offering you the chance to do just that.”

When writer Brandon Wong recently couldn’t decide what takeaway to order one evening, he asked his followers on social media app NewNew to choose for him. Those that wanted to get involved in the 24-year-old’s dinner dilemma paid $5 (£3.50) to vote in a poll, and the majority verdict was that he should go for Korean food, so that was what he bought…

NewNew is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Courtne Smith. The app, which is still in its “beta” or pre-full release stage, describes itself as “a human stock market where you buy shares in the lives of real people, in order to control their decisions and watch the outcome”. For many of us that sounds a bit ominous, but the reality is actually far less alarming. It is aimed at what it calls “creators” — writers, painters, musicians, fashion designers, bloggers etc. It is designed as a way for them to connect far more closely with their fans or followers than on other social media services and, importantly, monetise that connection…

Whenever a vote is cast the creator gets the money minus NewNew’s undisclosed commission… In addition to voting, followers can also pay extra — from $20 — to ask a NewNew creator to do something of their choosing, such as naming a character in a book after them. But the creator can reject all of these “bids”, and if they do so then the follower doesn’t have to part with the money…

Co-founder and chief executive Ms Smith, a 33-year-old Canadian, has big plans for NewNew, and has some heavyweight backers. Investors include Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, and the first outside person to put money into Facebook. Others with a stake in the business include leading US tech investment fund Andreessen Horowitz, and Hollywood actor Will Smith (no relation to Courtne). Snapchat has also given technical support.

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Sandpapergate will haunt Australia cricket forever: ex-bowling coach

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Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach - Gallo Images/Getty Images)


Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach – Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The 2018 ball-tampering scandal will haunt Australian cricket forever, much like the infamous underarm delivery of 40 years ago, the team’s former bowling coach David Saker said on Monday.

Saker was responding to opening batsman Cameron Bancroft suggesting that Australia’s bowlers knew about the plan in Cape Town to alter the ball which earned him a nine-month ban and rocked the game.

Saker was Australia’s bowling coach when Bancroft was caught trying to rough up the ball with sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa.

While refusing to be drawn on who knew what, Saker said “the finger-pointing is going to go on and on and on”.

“It’s like the underarm, it’s never going to go away,” he told Fairfax Media, referring to a 1981 incident when Trevor Chappell bowled underarm to ensure New Zealand lost a one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The notorious delivery is still cited in New Zealand and in cricketing circles as a prime example of unsporting conduct.

However, the ball-tampering scandal – dubbed “sandpapergate” – had a greater impact on Australian cricket, with the then-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner suspended for a year from all cricket and stripped of their leadership roles.

Darren Lehmann also quit as coach and all the top brass from Cricket Australia left after a scathing review blasted their “arrogant and controlling” win-at-all-costs culture.

No one else among the team or coaching staff was held to account but Bancroft’s remarks in an interview with The Guardian newspaper hinted that the team’s bowlers at least knew about the plan.

“Obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” he said.

Saker added: “There was a lot of people to blame. It could have been me to blame, it could have been someone else. It could have been stopped and it wasn’t, which is unfortunate.

“Cameron’s a very nice guy. He’s just doing it to get something off his chest … He’s not going to be the last.”

In response, Cricket Australia said that if anyone had new information, they would look into it.

Saker said he was not opposed to a fresh investigation but added “I just don’t know what they’re going to find out.”

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Mexico’s Andrea Meza crowned Miss Universe

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Miss Universe Andrea Meza


Miss Universe Andrea Meza

UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 IS ANDREA MEZA FROM MEXICO:


UPDATE:

THE MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 TOP 5:

1. Mexico

2. India

3. Brazil

4. Dominican Republic

5. Peru


UPDATE:

HERE ARE THE MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021 TOP 10 CONTESTANTS:

1. Jamaica 

2. Dominican Republic 

3. India

4. Peru 

5. Australia 

6. Puerto Rico

7. Thailand

8. Costa Rica

9. Mexico

10. Brazil


UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE TOP 21 IN SWIMWEAR:


UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE TOP 21: 

1. Columbia

2. Peru 

3. Australia 

4. France

5. Myanmar

6. Jamaica 

7. Mexico 

8. Dominican Republic 

9. USA

10. Indonesia 

11. Argentina 

12. India

13. Curaçao

14. Puerto Rico

15. Phillipines 

16. Brazil

17. Great Britain

18. Nicaragua

19. Thailand 

20. Costa Rica

21. Vietnam


 UPDATE:

MISS UNIVERSE SOUTH AFRICA NATASHA JOUBERT WALKS THE STAGE AT MISS UNIVERSE 2020/2021:


74 contestants will compete for the title of Miss Universe on 16 May in Hollywood, Florida. 

The Miss Universe pageant takes place on 16 May in the US (02:00 to 05:00 on 17 May SA time). The show will be broadcast live on 1 Magic (DStv Channel 103) with a repeat at 21:30. 

Reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa will crown her successor at the end of the event.

Representing South Africa is Natasha Joubert, and South Africans are hoping for the “magic double” – back-to-back consecutive wins, which has only happened once before in the pageant’s history.

Natasha wowed crowds at the national costume competition last week and on Friday impressed during the preliminary round

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Miss Mexico crowned Miss Universe 2021

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By AFP Time of article published 16m ago

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Washington – Miss Mexico was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday in Florida, after fellow contestant Miss Myanmar used her stage time to draw attention to the bloody military coup in her country.

Sunday night marked the Miss Universe competition’s return to television, after the pageant was cancelled in 2020 for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrea Meza, 26, finished first ahead of the Brazilian and Peruvian finalists in a flashy televised event, hosted by American actor Mario Lopez and television personality Olivia Culpo.

Former Miss Universe contestants Cheslie Kryst, Paulina Vega and Demi-Leigh Tebow (who won the title in 2017) served as competition analysts and commentators, and a panel of eight women determined the winner.

Dressed in a sparkling red evening gown, Meza tearfully walked the catwalk as Miss Universe for the first time, before rushing back for a group hug with the other competitors.

Meza beat more than 70 contestants from around the globe in the 69th installment of Miss Universe, which was held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

In the days leading up to the final competition, Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin, who made the top 21, made waves when she used her time in the spotlight to bring attention to the coup in her country.

“Our people are dying and being shot by the military every day,” she said during her biographical video, which showed photos of her taking part in the anti-coup protests. “Therefore I would like to urge everyone to speak out about Myanmar.”

Natasha Joubert, Miss Universe South Africa 2020 competes on stage in Ema Savahl swimwear during the MISS UNIVERSE® Preliminary Competition.

She also won the award for best national costume: during that competition segment on Thursday, she wore an outfit beaded in traditional Burmese patterns and held up a sign that said, “Pray for Myanmar.”

Myanmar has been in uproar since February 1, when the army ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

At least 796 people have been killed by security forces since then, according to a local monitoring group, while nearly 4 000 people are behind bars.

Miss Singapore Bernadette Belle Ong – who did not make the top 21 – also used the national costume portion to make a political statement.

Dressed in a glittering red bodysuit and matching thigh-high boots, she turned around to reveal her cape – in the colours of the Singaporean flag – was painted with the words “Stop Asian Hate.”

“What is this platform for if I can’t use it to send a strong message of resistance against prejudice and violence?” she wrote on Instagram alongside pictures of her outfit.

The United States in particular has seen a surge in anti-Asian violence in the past year, which activists have blamed on former president Donald Trump’s rhetoric, especially his repeated description of Covid-19 as the “China virus.”

The pageant has also drawn criticism in the past for objectifying the contestants.

In recent years, the competition has shifted image, focusing more on female empowerment and activism.

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