Asylum Access legal team wins groundbreaking African Court ruling

A man unlawfully deported can return from ‘no man’s land’ on border with Kenya; Tanzania must improve immigration laws

April 10, 2018

Dar es Salaam: The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights issued a groundbreaking ruling on March 22 to restore the citizenship rights of Anudo Ochieng Anudo, a Tanzanian national and Director of a human rights NGO. Anudo had been unlawfully detained and deported by Tanzanian immigration officials and spent the last 4 years, stateless (without a legally recognized nationality), living in the border region called “no man’s land”. The Court ruled that the government of Tanzania had illegally deprived him of his citizenship on the false premise that he was a Kenyan national. The ruling also ordered the Tanzanian government to reform its national immigration law to meet international standards for due process.

Represented by Janemary Ruhundwa and Mwajabu Khalid of Asylum Access Tanzania (AATZ), Anudo’s case represents a victory in multiple areas: in the effort to end statelessness, the ruling establishes that States bear the burden of proof to show that an individual is not a citizen, not the individual. Additionally, the Court ruled that Tanzanian immigration officials violated Anudo’s right to due process by not allowing him a fair hearing before a court or a judicial review of his case before administering his deportation. This historic decision subjects all States’ legislation regarding nationality disputes and deportations in the Court’s jurisdiction to review and reform, which will impact stateless, refugee, and migrant populations in 30 countries in the region.

“We are elated by the Court’s decision and urge Tanzania to ratify the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness,” said Janemary Ruhundwa, Director of Asylum Access Tanzania, “We also offer our expertise to the Tanzanian government in reforming the Immigration Law to improve human rights protections for stateless people, migrants, and refugees.”

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Media requests:

Brian Rawson
Associate Director of Advocacy and Communications
Janemary Ruhundwa
Asylum Access Tanzania Director