11th Session of the Forum on Minority Issues – Statement about Statelessness

The 11th Session of the Forum on the Minority Issues on the theme “Statelessness: A Minority Issue”was held in the Palais des Nations (Geneva) on 29 and 30 November 2018.

 

As promoters of cultural diversity and peacebuilding, Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development for Peace’s representatives took part in this event, because statelessness is a human rights issue disproportionately affecting national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities around the world. CD4Peace believes in the importance of the cultural heritage and cultural richesse that live through these minorities, who should enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms without discrimination. Statelessness is an important challenge to take up, in order to achieve a sustainable development and peacebuilding.

In the opening ceremony of this event Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, emphasized the urgent need to develop the rights of those belonging to minorities, who are more vulnerable to forced displacement and to the inability from enjoying human rights and reproductive health.

Number of NGOs had the opportunity to express their serious concerns about the rights of Yazidis subjected to genocide by ISIS especially in Syria, the lack of birth registration, the rights of national minorities to receive education in their mother tongue, the biological genocide imposed on Kurds, and finally the issue of Rohingyas who are stateless since enactment of 1982 citizenship law in the Myanmar.

Statelessness exists in almost all countries in the world, but Sustainable Development Goals are a great opportunity for the United-Nations and Member States to expand and go beyond birth certificate to provide real identity to stateless people. We must tackle this issue from birth as a means of ensuring that minorities are not at risk of statelessness, and it is the duty of States to protect and provide nationality to every stateless child. The full enjoyment of human rights should be the principal manner form which we approach any issue.

 

The representative of CD4Peace had the opportunity to read a statement. Ms. Asala Dalab expressed our serious concerns on the following issues on the situation of minorities around the world: the situation of minorities, women, children and nomad communities about statelessness.

 

The statement of Cultural diversity and Sustainable Development for Peace

Dear President and participants,

 

Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development for Peace -CD4Peace-, wants to express its concern regarding the situation of minorities, women, children and nomadic communities about statelessness. The case of children born in ISIS territories, which are stateless areas, remains problematic. In these countries, women cannot transmit the citizenship to their children because of national law.

In the context of nationalism that followed the multiplication of “nation states”, statelessness is used to “purify” gradually the composition of the “national” population. CD4Peace wants to reaffirm the importance of promoting inclusive dialogue and effective cooperation to achieve the goals of UNHCR’s Campaign to End Statelessness by 2024.

Another challenge to deal with is the situation of nomadic communities in the Middle-East. The way of life of Bedouin groups impede on their access to citizenship, especially in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. During the period of state formation, theyfailed to register for citizenship and without it, they are unable to register their marriages, enroll in the public education system and seek medical treatment.

In conclusion, our main recommendations are:

– to fulfill the gaps in nationality laws and to implement gender equality for mothers;

– to encourage governments to respect the conventions on statelessness and children’s rights;

– to comply with the principles of jus solias the sole criterion for the acquisition of nationality;

– to encourage countries to make statelessness more visible during the Universal Periodic Review and the other UN mechanisms.

Thank you for your attention.