The International Observatory on Statelessness


Farm workers of foreign origin represent one of the most vulnerable groups in Zimbabwe. An estimated 30 percent of two million farm workers and their families are believed to be of foreign descent. Many were born in Zimbabwe but lack birth certificates or national identity cards. They have also lost ties with their country of origin and have no place to return to when evicted from the farms.

The 2004 Amendment to the Citizenship Act grants citizenship to all people with parents from the Southern African Development Community born in Zimbabwe. But since many farm workers did not have the opportunity to register for birth certificates, doubts remain about the administrative capacity of the government to provide national identity registration. In addition, thousands of children who fled across the border to Zimbabwe during Mozambique’s 17-year civil war (1975-1992) were stranded without access to identity documents.

In 2007, President Mugabe warned that Zimbabwean nationals who have been out of the country for more than five continuous years would become stateless.