South Africa to let stateless children apply for citizenship

A South African legal group says the foreign affairs office has decided to address the problem of stateless children by allowing them to apply for citizenship.

Lawyers for Human Rights says the decision came just before the Supreme Court of Appeal heard the case of an 8-year-old stateless child born in South Africa to parents from overseas. The Pretoria High Court had ruled the child was a citizen.

South Africa has argued that allowing a path to citizenship would mean too many children applying.

But Tuesday's statement says the foreign affairs office withdrew its appeal and will create regulations within 18 months to allow other stateless children to apply for citizenship.

The legal group says that without such regulations, stateless children cannot leave South Africa nor obtain legal status.