Buba Badjie, registration officer of The Gambia Commission for Refugees has
stated that nationality is the legal status representing the country from which
an individual belongs.
Badjie was presenting a paper on nationality and citizenship at a day’s stakeholder forum organised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) Gambia office on eradicating statelessness through birth registration. The event was held at the West Coast Region governor’s office in Brikama.
He explained that a person’s nationality denotes the country where he/she was born.
On the basis of constitutional provisions, he maintained that every state sets the criteria that determine who can be a nationality. He said it provides the country rights over the person and provides protection for the nation against other nations.
Badjie pointed out that citizenship is defined as the status of being a legal member of a particular country, saying a citizen of a country is someone on whom all the social and political rights of the country are conferred upon.
According to him, nationality is the status and fact of a person being an origin of a particular nation, while citizenship is the political status that can be obtained by meeting the legal requirements set by the government of the state.
“Nationality is an ethnic or racial concept. On the other hand, citizenship is a legal or juristic concept.”
He disclosed that a person can become a national of a country by birth or by inheritance but there are variety of ways through which an individual can become a citizen of a country, for instance by birth, inheritance, marriage, naturalization or registration.
“A person’s nationality cannot be changed but citizenship can.”