A Generation left Stateless
By admin January 31, 2017

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The worry of being left stateless is among the children of this generation. According to the United Nations, at least 10 million people globally do not have citizenship to any country. The UNHCR recently reported in November a call for a campaign to end childhood statelessness by 2024. In order to create this global call for action, the UNHCR is asking states to initiate concrete steps which include measures that “allow children to gain the nationality of the country in which they are born if they would otherwise be stateless; reform laws that prevent mothers from passing their nationality to their children on an equal basis as fathers; eliminate laws and practices that deny children nationality because of their ethnicity, race or religion; ensure universal birth registration to prevent statelessness.” Living in such an era, these children speak out feeling as though they are foreigners in a country they have lived for their whole lives.

For many refugees, they fled their country leaving all documents and papers behind, thus being unable to be identified as nothing other than stateless. Once in a country, living undocumented, they are unable to be granted citizenship and, moreover, cannot legally work, attend school or open any bank accounts. Limits to health care are also restricting. After the Second World War, the 1954 UN convention created a basis of understanding of the status of stateless persons. Many European Union (EU) countries have offered such stateless persons the basic rights and protections as they do refugees. While the world does recognize refugees and the procedures and rights they are entitled to, many countries have not yet considered those identified as stateless and how to offer rights and protection as they do refugees.

Governments need to put in place “straightforward legal and practical measures” to “ensure that children’s very real connections to their countries are recognized through the grant of nationality,” according to the UN. When it comes to children, indeed all EU member states have agreed to the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child, ensuring that the country grants nationality to children that would be born stateless. However, the law is not always implemented.

More specifically, Syrians fleeing war are understood to be refugees, leaving their children “extremely vulnerable” and left to statelessness without any granted rights. Being in the asylum system has left parents in chaos, moreover leaving them forgetful that even their own children are stateless. Approximately 680,000 people in Europe are stateless, these individuals mostly including refugees and asylum seekers from the Middle East. A large impact of stateless children reflects the Syrian law which states that a child can only inherit nationality from their father, with 25 percent of Syrian refugee households as fatherless. A statement from a Syrian refugee father, “if they don’t have a birth certificate, it’s like they don’t exist,” in discussing children’s statelessness. Sadly, a stateless child is born every 10 minutes, according to the UN. The world, as a whole, needs to recognize the rights of any human being, encouraging each other to put in tack the necessary procedures to secure those being identified as stateless, along with refugees, asylum seekers, and all others in need of help.


Read More:

Stateless in Europe: ‘We are no people with no nation’

Refugee crisis creates ‘stateless generation’ of children in limbo

Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion

Six reasons why Syrians are fleeing to Europe in increasing numbers

UNHCR report reveals debilitating impact of statelessness on children
European Network on Statelessness

Thanks for sharing !

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