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Human Rights

Law 1
Topic: Human rights
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Law 2
Introduction
Statelessness is a term used for persons not belonging to a particular country or its
regulation. A lot is being done to tackle the matter but not done enough. This paper evaluates the
reasons for the continued occurrence of statelessness, the consequences of lacking citizenship
and the actions being taken to remedy the consequences and any further rise of statelessness.
Some of these reasons include the existence of laws that are conflicting. For instance, for one to
acquire nationality, s/he must be born in the territory of the state or by descent or naturalization.
Lack of either of the two renders someone as stateless. Being a citizen and recognized as one
offers the opportunity to access fundamental human rights. But for some reasons, not everyone
belongs to a state hence lacks citizenship. Because of this, fundamental rights are not provided
including heath care, employment, marriage, education and many others. This has led to the
upheaval of humanitarian organizations to step up their game in advocating for human rights. For
instance, due to their intervention, articles 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
explains that each person should be granted the right to nationality and should not be denied of it
or change it. A lot other conventions followed afterwards in a quest to protect the stateless which
are considered the most vulnerable of all groups in the world. Some of these conventions include
the convention on the rights of the child, conventions on the elimination of all forms of racial
discrimination and so on. Great strides have been made thereafter in protecting the stateless and
scraping off the issue of statelessness by issuance of birth registrations and nationalities during
birth but due to the rebirth of statelessness from time to time, a lot more can be done to cub the
issue. The following excerpt elucidates on the various reasons that lead to statelessness and the
various conventions, treaties and agreements that have been put in place to fight it and grant
every one equal rights.
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Justification
Citizenship is a legal standing of belonging to a particular nation(s) that is deliberated by
a government through birth or naturalization with the opportunity to delight in the specified
rights and obligations of that country (Nash, 1067). In as much as the legal entitlement offers
someone the opportunity of enjoying his or her rights, political and social structures also shape
up how these rights will be distributed. For instance, some countries are discriminatory on
nationality passage by women while others only allow for certain ethnic groups. Human rights
have now been legalized which simply means one needs a legal document to access these rights
and deprive those without of their rights. For instance since children of refugees constitute this
category of statelessness, they can perform civic duties like participating in election or access
public amenities. Right to nationality and citizenship is a human right and its violation means a
violation of other rights. Some social injustices are as a result of these deprivations of basic
rights connoting that upholding the right to citizenship and nationality is key to other human
rights.
Causes of statelessness
Challenges exist in conferring nationality to children born in the states’ land by stateless
parents’, circumstances or political upheavals e.g.
Rising state of international terrorism has made many governments to fail in the issuance
of citizenship in a bid to protect their country. Any intruder is considered as a potential
threat and this only escalates the state of statelessness.
Gaps in laws and policies that guide nationalism when being drafted, written and
implemented have rendered some people stateless.
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Movement into and out of one country to the other can also complicate matters especially
in countries where nationality cannot be passed on by women or family ties.
Gender and ethnic discrimination where some states deprive women of the right to pass
nationality by depriving them their rights. This becomes a challenge in the event that the
father is also stateless, unknown or not in a position to confer nationality. In the recent
past, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women,
prohibited sexual based discrimination and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of
Statelessness stipulated the endowment of nationality at birth for children born in
circumstances would render them stateless. Discrimination based on ethnicity plays a big
role in deprivation of citizenship. Some countries define their citizens based on ethnic
groups and anyone outside these brackets is considered a non-citizen and cannot be
identified as a citizen even by birth. The UN committee on the Elimination of racial
discrimination in 2014 outlined that it is a complete intrusion of the governments
obligation to guarantee non biased pleasure on the rights to citizenship by depriving
nationality based on race, color, ancestry or local or cultural background.
In the event of government upheavals, some citizens belonging to the former country are
rendered stateless because their nation does not exist or has come to be under the control
of another nation e.g. Ethiopia and Yugoslavia (Southwick, 45) or when the Soviet Union
disintegrated.
Obstacles by the administration can make it hard to gain citizenship especially when the
nation of origin is questionable. They may be permitted to obtain citizenship but the
administration put on hurdles to bur those that are not likened by them to get it. For
instance they may use hefty documentation fees, put up unrealistic deadlines or even the
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simple language or literacy barrier affecting those with need of completing simple
procedures like birth registration and this may make it difficult to obtain citizenship. For
instance, in 2013, about 230 million children under 5 years were not registered according
to UNICEF.
Citizenship renunciation where a person decides to abandon his country of birth or
inheritance. This may render someone stateless in the event s/he had not sought for
another one
As a result of being in a non state territory. Some people may be dwellers off places
where statehood does not exist and hence they are nationals of no state thus stateless.
Consequences of statelessness
Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights offers everybody with the right to
citizenship. Basic human rights are drafted on the basis of equality, liberty, dignity and
universality. Many states have sort to protect stateless people in their area of jurisdiction and
reduce statelessness. The reason as to why this is done is because statelessness is a human right
problem. Based on it, other human rights are violated and an obstruction towards getting justice.
From the causes discussed above, it is clear that other injustice such as inequality and
discrimination are fortified in statelessness. The other way round is also true i.e. resolving the
issue of statelessness is the beginning of the realization of other human rights. The quest by the
UNHCR to end statelessness shows the growing concern of the violation of basic human needs.
More than 10,000,000 people worldwide are considered stateless. To cub sustainably, initiatives
have been launched to provide birth certification and legal identity at birth. Statelessness comes
with consequences, for instance, the state may hold back some of the rights of the stateless
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people e.g. voting, education, employment, marriage and the right to see a doctor. They are
treated as intruders and foreigners even in the countries where they were born. This makes them
the most vulnerable group in the world. The results are lowering of self - identity and dignity.
The most affected are children. Some inherit statelessness while others due to discriminatory
laws, cannot get citizenship or a nationality.
People lacking citizenship live in unwarranted and vulnerable conditions because of the
lack of legal recognition required to exercise humanly rights and cannot be protected
diplomatically by the government. Worst case scenario is that due to deplorable conditions and
lack of access to jobs and other basic wants, poverty becomes inevitable and face possible
expulsion from their countries of residence.
Remedies to statelessness and citizenship
The international community have pledged and made treaties, commitments and agreements
to safe guard the right of and end statelessness. Some of them include
Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, 2006 which outlined individual
governments that are party to the convention will recognize people who are physically
disabled and their rights to locomotion, free will of dwelling place and nationality in the
same way those without disabilities have. These particular groups are also entitled
without restrictions to obtain and change citizenship. Disabled children are entitled to
immediate registration after birth and citizenship (Miranda, 379).
Convention on the rights of the child (1989) in part states that governments party to the
convention respect a child’s rights and preserve their identity and citizenship. In the event
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that a child has no identity, the government will offer support and security while restoring
his/ her identity (Miranda, 279).
Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women of 1979
obliges states to offer equal rights to both genders in acquiring, changing and retaining
their nationality and that of their children.
Convention on the elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination of 1965 that require
participating governments to eradicate all forms of ethnic biasness and assure everybody’
rights including that of nationality without any discrimination whatsoever.
Although states have pledged to adhere to the agreements, from time to time, the issue of
statelessness comes up. This is mostly driven by the complex political dynamics and sudden
developments (Southwick, 493). This in turn makes it terrible for them to access healthcare,
education, employment or any legal services like marriage. For there to be a significant
difference, governments, non-governmental organizations and Agencies like UNHCR need to
work hand in hand to end the issue of statelessness. Deprivation of a Nationality is in all manners
a breach of fundamental human right. Citizenship has supreme significance for an opportunity to
enjoy additional essential rights in a country. It bears political protection and serves as a legal
requirement for accessing basic human rights. UNHCR has been mandated by the UN to protect
persons considered stateless alongside its mandate of protecting and assisting immigrants. Its
duties include: identification of stateless cases, reduction of non-citizenship, prevention of
statelessness and assisting the stateless. Their efforts can be felt as they offer a platform where
the stateless can actually go and file their grievance and receive the much needed help. Refugees
and stateless people are more or less the same because both of them find themselves in a country
that does not recognize them as its citizen. With the continued emphasis on respecting human
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rights, women as well as women can voice their concerns and can be in a position to be heard.
For citizenship, at least they can secure the citizenship of their children especially at birth which
is better than nothing at all.
Conclusion
From the above discussion, it is evident that the issue of statelessness is still a problem in
many countries rendering the stateless vulnerable. The aspect of depravation of fundamental
human rights makes it a global concern forcing humanitarian agencies to chip in. The right to
citizenship is so basic that the lack of it means lack of other basic needs while the violation of the
same means violation of other rights. The collaboration of various agencies and governments to
do away with the issue of non - citizenship is required so as to maintain a sustainable mechanism
of granting everyone equal rights and equal opportunities. With the hurdles that exist in
scrapping off the issue of statelessness, the government can do much more in order to ensure the
safety of those lacking citizenship while safeguarding the citizenship of those being born.
Poverty in any nation is a setback to economic growth and governments can only do as much to
eradicate it by giving the fundamental rights back to the stateless. Treaties and conventions serve
as a good checklist to the adherence of the stipulated international laws and policies. Citizen or
no citizen, basic rights don’t change and it’s the duty of the states to grant them to the people.
Law 9
Works cited
Contemporary forms of statelessness: the intersection between the lack of a recognized
nationality, human rights, inequality, and development. London school of economics and
political science, Houghton street, London.
http://www.lse.ac.uk/humanRights/events/2016/ContemporaryFormsOfStatelessness.asp
x
Farooq, Annam. "Expunging Statelessness from Terrorist Expatriation Statutes." Hofstra L. Rev.
44 (2015): 933.
Miranda, Morgan G. "A (Stateless) Stranger in a Strange Land: Flores-Villar and the Potential
for Statelessness Under US Law." J. Gender Race & Just. 15 (2012): 379.
Nash, Kate. "Between citizenship and human rights." sociology 43.6 (2009): 1067-1083.
Phuong, Catherine. "Improving the United Nations Response to Crises of Internal
Displacement." International Journal of Refugee Law 13.4 (2001): 491-517.
Southwick, Katherine. "Ethiopia-Eritrea: statelessness and state succession." Forced Migration
Review 32 (2009): 15.

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