AI said in 2001 a new law required descendants of migrant workers to renounce their ancestral nationality within six months in order to be granted Zimbabwean citizenship.
“Many people were unable to do so because they did not hold the requisite identity documents. To be granted Zimbabwean citizenship, they first needed to prove their parents had been nationals of other countries.”
The report said the “legal limbo of statelessness” is perpetuated across generations.
“Parents are denied birth certificates for their children if they cannot present their own, leaving their children facing precarious futures.
“Without the necessary identity documents, many stateless children are unable to access education. Those who do attend school are often forced to drop out, or prevented from sitting their final exams.”
The report said Zimbabwe’s government is in violation of the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, of which it is a state party.
Mwananyanda said: “Zimbabwe must make concrete and urgent changes to the law to bring the Citizenship Act in line with the constitution. The authorities must take the necessary steps to ensure no further generations are condemned to the margins of society.
“The Zimbabwean authorities must publicly commit to creating an equal and inclusive society that accords citizenship to any person born on Zimbabwean soil, without discrimination based on national or ethnic origin.”