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Statelessness: general studies and reports

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: Suggested reading on statelessness - UNHCR and other UN and international documents
Description/subject: Search results for Statelessness. A rich seam of reports, Excom conclusions, guidelines, commentaries, descriptions and case studies etc. on statelessness.
Language: English
Source/publisher: UNHCR
Format/size: html, pdf
Date of entry/update: 24 December 2010

Individual Documents

Title: Rohingya Identity Is More Than Words on a Card - Myanmar Needs to Recognize Rights of Refugees in Bangladesh
Date of publication: 15 August 2018
Description/subject: "While changing a few words on a refugee’s ID card may seem inconsequential, for the 700,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh who fled ethnic cleansing in Myanmar a year ago, it is essential. In negotiating with Myanmar for the repatriation of the Rohingya, Bangladesh recently agreed to change the wording on their ID cards from “Myanmar nationals” to “displaced persons from Rakhine State.” This change signals that Myanmar doesn’t intend to honor the citizenship rights of the Rohingya, nor acknowledge the causes of their displacement – security force operations that included murder, widespread rape, mass arson, and pillage. It also suggests Bangladesh’s willingness to dismiss the Rohingya’s rights as refugees as repatriation plans move forward. Although the vast majority of the Rohingya are officially stateless, many have long and deep roots in Myanmar. Despite living in miserable, dangerous conditions in grossly overcrowded camps in Bangladesh, the refugees I visited there were unwilling to criticize their hosts because, as they frequently said to me, “Bangladesh is not my country.” I heard this phrase so often that I made it the title of our report on their plight. Their country, they said, was Myanmar, and to their homes and homeland they wanted to return, they said..."
Author/creator: Bill Frelick Director, Refugee Rights Program
Language: English
Source/publisher: Human Rights Watch
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 21 August 2018

Title: Now or Never – Is Time Running Out For Rohingya to get Citizenship?
Date of publication: 23 July 2018
Description/subject: "The denial of citizenship to the Rohingya people is one of the foundation stones which underpins prejudice and violence against the Rohingya. Their right of citizenship is one of the top demands of Rohingya, including a key condition for refugees before returning to Burma. A new briefing ‘Rohingya Citizenship. Now or Never?’ published today by Burma Campaign UK warns that political developments such as Burma’s 2020 election may mean that there is only a window of 12-18 months where there is a realistic chance of a change in the 1982 Citizenship Law and all Rohingya receiving citizenship. After this time, the election cycle and political changes in the country may mean there will never again be the opportunity that exists right now..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Campaign UK
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 22 August 2018

Title: Why are so many people stateless? (video)
Date of publication: 04 November 2017
Description/subject: "The UN says more than 10 million people around the world do not have a country they legally belong to...They are known as the stateless. People who have neither citizenship nor a nationality. Often it means they have no travel documents, find it difficult to get a job, and are denied access to medical care and other state services. Their plight is highlighted in a report by the UN. The most widely covered case in recent months has been Myanmar's Rohingya community. It became officially the largest stateless minority in the world after Myanmar passed a law in 1982 that denied the Rohingya citizenship. Until August, there were about one million Rohingya in Myanmar, but more than half of them are now in Bangladesh after fleeing a military crackdown. But why, in 2017, are so many people in this position? And what can be done about it?
Author/creator: Presenter: Martine Dennis; Guests: Melanie Khanna - Chief of Statelessness Section at UNHCR; Amal de Chickera - The Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion; Wakar Uddin - Director-General, the Arakan Rohingya Union.."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Aljazeera (Inside Story)
Format/size: Adobe Flash or html5
Date of entry/update: 05 November 2017

Title: Lives on Hold - The Human Costs of Statelessness
Date of publication: February 2005
Description/subject: "Lives on Hold: The Human Costs of Statelessness is Refugees International's new 50-page report that highlights the difficulties faced by an estimated 11 million individuals worldwide who have no citizenship or effective nationality. These stateless people are international orphans who have fallen through the cracks of the United Nations. They regularly cannot participate in the political process of any country and are guaranteed no legal protections. Because of their status, millions of stateless people have difficulty in obtaining jobs and owning property, receive inadequate access to healthcare and education, and suffer sexual and physical violence. The report documents the human costs of the problem in more than 70 countries with particular emphasis on groups in Bangladesh, Estonia and the United Arab Emirates, and provides recommendations to the international community on what must be done by the UN, individual states and donor governments like the United States."
Author/creator: M. Lynch
Language: English
Source/publisher: Refugees International
Format/size: pdf (1.49MB)
Date of entry/update: 16 February 2005

Title: Stateless and unregistered children
Date of publication: 1998
Description/subject: Box 6.4 of the chapter on Statelessness and Citizenship from the 1997 "The State of the World's Refugees". "In most countries, babies are registered with the relevant authorities soon after they are born, enabling them to receive a birth certificate. Without such a certificate, it can be very difficult for a person to lay claim to a nationality or to exercise the rights associated with citizenship. Individuals who lack a birth certificate may, for example, find it impossible to leave or return to their own country, register as a voter or gain access to public health and education services..." Includes a para on the Rohingyas.
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: Statelessness and Citizenship (Chapter 6 of the 1997 "State of the World's Refugees")
Date of publication: 1998
Description/subject: Headings include: Nationality and Citizenship; New Dimensions of Statelessness; Human and Humanitarian Implications; The Link with Forced Displacement; National and International Responsibilities; Strengthening the Legal and Institutional Regime; The Role of UNHCR; Citizenship and Internaional Security. "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights unequivocally states that “everyone has the right to a nationality” and that “no-one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality.” But many thousands of people across the globe lack the security and protection which citizenship can provide. A substantial proportion of the world’s stateless people are also victims of forced displacement. In some instances, individuals and communities are deprived of their nationality by governmental decree and are subsequently expelled from the country which they consider to be their home. In other situations, stateless people are obliged to flee because of the persecution and discrimination which they experience. And having left the country where they have lived for most or all their lives, stateless people may subsequently find it impossible to return..." Contains references to the Rohingyas.
Language: English
Source/publisher: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003