Bronwen Manby

Bronwen Manby

Visiting Senior Fellow

LSE Human Rights

Key Expertise
Law, Statelessness, Democracy, Human Rights

About me

Bronwen Manby’s current research and writing focus on statelessness, comparative nationality law, and legal identity. Her book Citizenship in Africa: The Law of Belonging analysed the history of nationality laws in Africa, and their relationship with politics, from the colonial era to the present. She has worked closely with UNHCR on its global campaign against statelessness, including writing in-depth reports on different regions of Africa; and has also advised the World Bank 'identification for development' initiative. Previously, she worked for the Open Society Foundations and the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, and 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.

Dr Manby is a guest teacher for the LSE’s MSc in Human Rights, teaching international human rights law as part of the core course for the degree. She is also a senior visiting fellow at the LSE’s Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa, and from 2017-20 she was principal researcher at the Middle East Centre on the project Preventing Statelessness among Migrants in North Africa and their Children: Role of Host and Sending States in Providing Birth Registration and Identity Documents.

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

"Unblocking access to citizenship in the global South: should the process be decentralised?" (co-edited with Prof Rainer Bauböck), Working Paper, GLOBALCIT, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, January 2021

The Sustainable Development Goals and ‘legal identity for all’: ‘first, do no harm’”, World Development, Vo.139, March 2021;

‘Legal identity for all’ and statelessness: Opportunity and threat at the junction of public and private international law”, Statelessness and Citizenship Review, Vol.2, No.2, pp.248-271, December 2020;

Report on Citizenship Law: Nigeria (co-authored with Solomon Momoh), Global Citizenship Observatory, July 2020;

The UNHCR Guidelines on Statelessness No.5: Loss and Deprivation of Nationality (blog post), Global Citizenship Observatory, 29 June 2020;

“Case note: Robert John Penessis v United Republic of Tanzania (Judgement) (African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, App No.013/2015, 28 November 2019) (co-authored with Clement Bernardo Mubanga), Statelessness and Citizenship Review, June 2020;

“Citizenship erasure: The arbitrary retroactive non-recognition of citizenship”, in The World’s Stateless: Deprivation of Nationality, Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, March 2020;

Nationality and Statelessness Among Persons of Western Saharan Origin”, Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law, Vol.34, No. 1, February 2020, pp.9-29;

The nationality laws of the Lusophone states in Africa”, e-boletim Lei & Justiça (Network Timor), Vol.2, No.3, December 2019, pp.14-34;

Preventing statelessness among migrants and refugees: Birth registration and consular assistance in Egypt and Morocco”, LSE Middle East Centre Paper Series 27, June 2019;

Case Note: Anudo Ochieng Anudo v Tanzania (Judgment) (African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, App No 012/2015, 22 March 2018)”, Statelessness & Citizenship Review, Vol.1, No.1, June 2019;

Citizenship Law as the Foundation for Political Participation in Africa”, in Oxford Research Encyclopaedia of Politics, February 2019;

Report on Citizenship Law: Zimbabwe, Global Citizenship Observatory, January 2019

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.