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African Human Rights Law Journal

On-line version ISSN 1996-2096
Print version ISSN 1609-073X


BUZARD, David A. Ethnocentric nationality in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: An analysis under international human rights law. Afr. hum. rights law j. [online]. 2021, vol.21, n.2, pp.985-1008. ISSN 1996-2096.

In order to dismantle institutionalised tribalism in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has fostered recurring war and armed conflict, its lynchpin of ethnocentric citizenship must be removed. Due to the Congolese law of nationality by birth being grounded in ethnicity, Congolese nationality has been and remains subject to political manipulation, particularly concerning the Banyamulenge people. In the latter half of the twentieth century the Congolese state has alternatively granted, withdrawn and reinstated their Congolese citizenship. Fundamentally, the basic Congolese nationality law - anchored in the Congolese Constitution - perpetuates a legal framework for racial division which does nothing to hinder but only enables malicious sympathies that tend toward exclusion, persecution, expulsion and genocide. To address this existential flaw, this article describes how the primacy of ethnicity in the Congolese law of nationality by birth violates three international human rights treaties that the DRC has accepted, thus laying a foundation for legal action to change the Constitution and nationality law of the DRC.

Keywords : Banyamulenge; DRC; nationality; ethnic; discrimination.

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