Bronwen Manby

Bronwen Manby

Visiting Senior Fellow

LSE Human Rights

About me

Bronwen Manby is a guest teacher for the MSc in Human Rights, and an independent consultant in the field of human rights, democracy and good governance, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa.  She is a leading authority on nationality law and statelessness in Africa.

At the Middle East Centre, Dr Manby is Principal Investigator on the research project Preventing Statelessness among Migrants in North Africa and their Children: Role of Host and Sending States in Providing Birth Registration and Identity Documents.

Previously, Dr Manby worked for the Open Society Foundations and the Africa division of Human Rights Watch.  She has written on a wide range of human rights issues in Africa, with particular interests in South Africa and Nigeria (especially the oil industry in the Niger Delta), and in continental developments in human rights law. Recently, her research and writing have focused on statelessness, comparative nationality law, and legal identity, and she has worked closely with UNHCR on its global campaign against statelessness and has also advised the World Bank initiative on 'identification for development'.

Dr Manby has degrees from Oxford and Columbia Universities, is qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales, and in 2015 was awarded a doctorate by Maastricht University faculty of law (Citizenship and Statelessness in Africa: The Law and Politics of Belonging). She is a board member of the International Senior Lawyers Project and of Rights and Accountability in Development.


'Toxic rhetoric' takes human rights into dark age:  (2017) Dr Bronwen Manby is interviewed about Amnesty International's "The State of the World's Human Rights" assessment. "Some of the world’s largest countries are not being held to account when it comes to human rights violations."

Dr Bronwen Manby co-authored a blog with Alan Gelb of Center for Global Development (2016): 'Has development converged with human rights? Implications for the legal identity SDG'

Publications on nationality and statelessness

Citizenship in Africa: The Law of Belonging, Hart Publishing, November 2018;

Statelessness and Citizenship in the East African Community, UNHCR, October 2018;

“You Can’t Lose What You Haven’t Got: Citizenship Acquisition and Loss in Africa”, in Rainer Bauböck (ed.) Debating Transformations of National Citizenship, Springer, September 2018;

“Legal Identity” and Biometric Identification in Africa, in Newsletter of the American Political Science Association’s Organized Section on Migration and Citizenship, Summer 2018, Vol. 6, No. 2;

“Restore the factory settings”: Efforts to control executive discretion in nationality administration in Africa, Citizenship Rights in Africa Initiative / GLOBALCIT, 16 April 2018;

Denial and Denigration: How Racism Feeds Statelessness, Minority Rights Group, October 2017;

“People Without a Country: The State of Statelessness”, in Insights on Law and Society, American Bar Association, Vol.17, No.3, Spring 2017 (special edition on migration)

Good Practices Paper – Action 2 of the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness 2014 – 2024: Ensuring that no child is born stateless, UNHCR, March 2017;

Legal identity for all and childhood statelessness”, in The World’s Stateless, Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, January 2017;

“The right to a nationality in Africa: New norms and new commitments” (with Ayalew Getachew and Julia Sloth-Nielsen), in Laura van Waas and Melanie Khanna (eds.)Solving Statelessness, Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, 2016

“Has Development Converged with Human Rights? Implications for the Legal Identity SDG”, Center for Global Development, 3 November 2016 (with Alan Gelb)

Id­entification in th­e Cont­ext of Forc­ed Displace­me­nt, Identification for Development Initiative, World Bank, June 2016;

“Book review: The Human Right to Citizenship: A Slippery Concept (Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann & Margaret Walton-Roberts eds., Univ. of Pennsylvania Press 2015)”, Human Rights Quarterly, Vol.38, No.2, May 2016, pp.526-534.

Who Belongs? Statelessness and Nationality in West Africa, Migration Information Source, Migration Policy Institute, 7 April 2016;

Recent Developments in Citizenship Law in Africa, Citizenship Rights in Africa Initiative, 25 February 2016; 

Citizenship Law in Africa: A comparative study, Open Society Foundations, 2016 (3rd edition);

Citizenship and Statelessness in Africa: The law and politics of belonging, PhD dissertation, Maastricht University Faculty of Law, October 2015;

Statelessness in Africa: the scale of the challenge and the opportunities for leadership”, European Network on Statelessness, 28 October 2015;

Nationality, migration and statelessness in West Africa, report for UNHCR and IOM, June 2015;

Questions of legal identity in the post-2015 development agenda”, with Edgar Whitley, LSE Centre for the Study of Human Rights, 28 May 2015;

Important new guidelines on the right to birth registration and a nationality in Africa launched in Côte d’Ivoire, LSE Centre for the Study of Human Rights, 16 February 2015;

You can't lose what you haven't got: citizenship acquisition and loss in Africa”, in Audrey Macklin and Rainer Bauböck (eds.) The Return of Banishment: Do the New Denationalisation Policies Weaken Citizenship?, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, EUDO Citizenship Observatory, RSCAS 2015/14;

How will the UNHCR’s statelessness campaign affect Africa?, African Arguments, 12 November 2014;

Tanzanian constitutional review proposes radical changes to citizenship law, African Arguments, 15 April 2014.

“Trends in citizenship law and politics in Africa since the colonial era”, chapter in Engin F. Isin, and Peter Nyers (eds.), Handbook of Global Citizenship Studies, Routledge, 2014;

Draft Zim constitution fails citizenship test, OSISA, 11 October 2012 (and update, 10 January 2013);

Statelessness in Southern Africa, Briefing paper for UNHCR Regional Conference on Statelessness in Southern Africa Mbombela (Nelspruit), South Africa 1-3 November 2011, UNHCR, 2012;

The Right to Nationality and the Secession of South Sudan: A Commentary on the Impact of the New Laws, Open Society Foundations, June 2012;

Citizenship and State Succession in the Sudans, LSE Centre for the Study of Human Rights, 19 December 2011;

International Law and the Right to Nationality in Sudan, Open Society Foundations, February 2011;

Struggles for Citizenship in Africa, Zed Books, 2009.