The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on 4 November 2015 released a study titled I am Here, I belong: the Urgent Need to End Childhood Statelessness.
The report draws on interviews with more than 250 stateless children and youngsters, their parents and guardians in seven countries around the world.
Highlights of the report
• Every ten minutes a stateless child is born largely because of discriminatory citizenship laws and violent conflicts taking place across the globe.
• The problem is most visible in the Syrian refugee crisis due to which around 140000 children born stateless in neighboring countries of Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.
• Statelessness is a condition that affects at least 10 million people around the world.
• The gravity of suffering is more serious than expected as 3 million of them are children and their present and future is always at stake.
• In more than 30 countries, children who lack documentation of their citizenship cannot receive treatment at a health facility.
• In at least 20 countries, stateless children cannot receive vaccines. In others, including Cote d’Ivoire and Georgia, stateless children are not eligible for primary school or must pay a fee to attend school.
• To correct the situation, the UNHCR urged all states to take steps, including allowing children to gain the nationality of the country in which they are born.
• It also seeks to ensure universal birth registration to prevent statelessness, and the elimination of laws and practices that deny children nationality because of their ethnicity, race or religion.
The study marks one year since the launch of UNHCR's #IBelong Campaign to End Statelessness by 2024.
To achieve this goal, UNHCR urges all States to take the following steps in line with the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness:
• 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
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