The International Observatory on Statelessness


According to the U.S. Department of State, discriminatory citizenship laws and administrative procedures have made as many as five percent of Madagascar’s two million Muslims stateless. Reports suggest that even having a Muslim-sounding name was sufficient for one’s citizenship application to be denied. One group that has been affected is the Karana, an Indo-Pakistani community that has been present in Madagascar for over a century. Out of the 20,000 Karana located in Madagascar, only a handful of individuals hold citizenship rights.

Madagascar does not recognize birth on Malagasy soil as automatic citizenship; it must be transmitted through a native-born mother. Also, children who are born to a native mother and foreign father must declare their citizenship early in order to avoid losing their eligibility to qualify