CALL FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST | Regional Training for Young Attorneys: Statelessness & Migration in Southern Africa

Date: 14/09/2022

This training initiative is open to all paralegals, candidate attorneys, and junior attorneys based in Southern Africa. Get expert training on identifying and solving statelessness cases, and help more stateless people get access to justice!


Statelessness refers to an individual who is not considered a national under the laws of any State. In principle, human rights are universal and inherent, but in practice, stateless people are denied several fundamental human rights because they lack a nationality. In many cases, stateless people are unable to obtain identity documents; they may be detained for reasons related to their statelessness; and they are often denied access to education, health care, and employment.

The Southern African Nationality Network (“SANN”), established in 2016, is an ambitious collective of a range of civil society organisations, individuals and networks working towards universal access to the right to a nationality, and the eradication of statelessness in Southern Africa.

This year, SANN has partnered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (“UNHCR”) in a project (1) to strengthen the involvement of regional civil society in the fight against statelessness and (2) to improve communication and awareness-raising on statelessness in the region.

The law remains one of the most powerful tools in promoting and protecting human rights, including the rights of stateless persons or persons at risk of statelessness. However, stateless persons or persons at risk of statelessness may be precluded from access to legal service because of cost, language barriers and other administrative and procedural difficulties. This is compounded by the fact that civil society and community-based organisations that offer pro bono legal aid to stateless persons or persons at risk of statelessness in the region are limited, and often under-resourced or inadequately funded.

To this end, SANN and UNHCR plan to conduct a regional legal training on statelessness and migration in Southern Africa to build the capacity of lawyers and legal organisations providing legal assistance to persons affected by statelessness.


  • Lawyers for Human Rights (South Africa): LHR is an independent human rights organisation that employs a holistic approach to social justice and human rights enforcement in South Africa through strategic litigation, advocacy, law reform, human rights education, and community mobilisation and support. LHR operates a Refugee and Migrant Rights Programme with legal clinics in Gauteng Province, Kwa Zulu Natal Province and Limpopo Province. LHR has also established a specialised Statelessness Project that advocates for the legal identity of all in South Africa and the eradication of statelessness in South Africa and the region.
  • Centre for Child Law (South Africa): CCL is a public interest litigation organization and operates a law clinic based in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria. The vision of the Centre is to establish child law and uphold the rights and best interests of children in South Africa through law and policy development, strategic litigation, advocacy, and education.
  • Centre for Human Rights: Migration Unit (South Africa): the Migration Unit is a thematically specialised unit of the Centre for Human Rights (University Pretoria) which conducts research, advocacy and monitoring in the area of migration in Africa. It works to promote the rights of forcibly displaced persons, to empower displaced persons, and positively impact on decision making on issues that have bearing on forcibly displaced persons in the African region. The main activities of the Unit include advocacy, research, and monitoring.

Dates and Format

24 – 26 October

The training will be conducted in English.

The training will be conducted in-person at the Law Faculty, University of Pretoria in Pretoria, South Africa. The training will include a combination of seminars, case studies, group activities, presentations by participants, evaluations, testimonials by stateless people etc. (emphasis is on dialogue, learning and sharing).

Every participant will be issued a certificate of participation upon completion.


The overall objectives of the training are:

i) to develop the knowledge and expertise of lawyers and legal organisations in the region on statelessness and migration in general and in the context of Southern Africa

ii) to equip participants with skills and tools to identify people affected by statelessness, and to develop practical legal interventions to resolve statelessness cases

iii) to explore creative advocacy strategies to raise more awareness of statelessness in the region and mobilize other duty-bearers / stakeholders in the fight against statelessness

iv) to promote and facilitate the exchange of best practices, new legal developments and trends, and law and policy reform to address statelessness in the region


After completion of the training, it is expected that (1) participants will be better equipped to identify and resolve statelessness cases and (2) there is increased access to justice or access to lawyers for people affected by statelessness.

Course content


  • Concept, definitions, and terminology: overview of international and regional human rights framework + overview of statelessness in Southern Africa
  • Causes: gaps/conflict in nationality laws, lack of birth registration, state succession, arbitrary deprivation of nationality, administrative barriers, forced displacement, discrimination, generational statelessness
  • Consequences: impact on the individual, impact on society and the state, impact on the international community, statelessness, and the development agenda
  • Specific themes or vulnerable categories:
    – migration and statelessness
    – childhood and statelessness
    – gender and statelessness (impact on women, and trans and gender diverse persons – “rainbow statelessness”)


  • Identification:
    – gathering quantitative and qualitative data
    – mapping legal services (and psycho-social support)
    – interviews and consultation (trauma informed lawyering)
    – statelessness determination procedures
  • Reduction: i.e., gauging opportunities for solutions to statelessness cases
    – adjudicating nationality rights
    – administrative law
  • Protection: i.e., ensuring stateless people can access other fundamental rights until they can acquire nationality e.g., education,
    health care, social services – and can be protected from detention and deportation
  • Prevention: exploring advocacy initiatives e.g., #IBelong Campaign, parliamentary advocacy, engaging the media, capacity building,
    community dialogue, networks, information sharing


(NB: this is an outline and the final programme will be shared in due course)

Submission of expression of interest

The training is offered to a maximum of 20 paralegals, candidate attorneys or junior attorneys (i.e., 1 – 3 years post attaining a law degree) based in Southern Africa, and who work in the field of statelessness or have an interest in working in the field of statelessness.

The SANN and UNHCR will offer 10 grants (covering a return air-ticket and accommodation with bed, breakfast, and dinner). Priority will be given to applicants based outside of South Africa. Applicants who are not selected to receive the grant may still attend the training at their own expense.

To apply, kindly complete the application form available here – and upload:
– a curriculum vitae of two pages maximum (in .pdf labelled as follows “name-surname-CV’)
– a motivation letter of one page maximum indicating why the applicant is interested in the training, what their expected outcomes are, and how they intend to use the knowledge and expertise gained (in .pdf labelled as follow “name-surname-motivation letter”)

The deadline to apply is 26 September 2022.

IMPORTANT: please note that it is each applicants’ responsibility to confirm that they hold a valid passport or travel document, and to establish the relevant visa requirements to travel to South Africa for the training. If a visa letter is required, kindly inform us as soon as possible so that we can provide you with one. You can also verify visa requirements with the Department of Home Affairs or South African consulate in your country:


For any enquiries, please contact Ms. Thandeka Chauke at

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