Preventing Statelessness among Migrants and Refugees in North Africa

in collaboration with AUC and AMERM

LSE PI: Dr Bronwen Manby
Co-PIs: Dr Usha Natarajan (AUC), Mohamed Khachani and Malika Benradi (AMERM)
Duration: September 2017 – February 2019

Geometria callejera, bachmont

In 2014, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees launched a campaign to end statelessness within 10 years. In the development context, Target 16.9 within the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 is to “provide legal identity for all, including birth registration”. While universal birth registration can make a critical contribution to ending statelessness, it is not sufficient. It is necessary also to pay attention to the information recorded in the birth register, to the transcription of birth certificates into the records of the state of nationality of the parents, and to law reform to protect children who cannot obtain their parents’ nationality. The nationality law provisions in North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East that leave children and adults at risk of statelessness are already well documented. However, the procedural constraints to recognition and transmission of nationality are less well understood.

This project investigates identification needs of Sub-Saharan African and other migrants in two North African countries, Egypt and Morocco, particularly focusing on children born outside the country of nationality of their parents. It looks at the regulatory frameworks in place and their implementation in both countries, and seeks to establish practical recommendations for legal and administrative reform in Egypt and Morocco, and also more generally for both sending and receiving countries. The aim is to study and promote the most effective methods to ensure the rights of children to birth registration and of both children and adults to documents that officially confirm their nationality. Ultimately, this project aims to contribute to the reduction of statelessness among migrants and their children in North Africa and beyond.

This project forms part of the Academic Collaboration with Arab Universities Programme, funded by the Emirates Foundation.

This project is also supported by the LSE's Knowledge Exchange and Impact Fund.

Project Outputs

Research Team


Bronwen Manby | Principal Investigator

Bronwen is Senior Policy Fellow at the LSE Middle East Centre.


Usha Natarajan | Co-Principal Investigator

Usha is Associate Director of the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies and Associate Professor of International Law at the American University in Cairo. 


Nourhan Abdel Aziz | Researcher

Nourhan is Lead Researcher at the  Center for Migration and Refugee Studies at AUC.  


Malika Benradi | Co-Principal Investigator

Malika is a Law Professor at the University Mohammed V Rabat Agdal and a member of l'Association Marocaine des Études et des Recherches sur la Migration (AMERM).


Mohamed Khachani | Co-Principal Investigator

Mohamed is Professor of Higher Education at the University Mohammed V Rabat Agdal and Secretary General of AMERM.