Latest news & analysis

ISI Issues Comment on “Repatriation, Statelessness and Refugee Status: Three Crucial Issues in the Unfolding Rohingya Crisis”

[posted 10 October 2017] The Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion is deeply concerned that – even as violence against the Rohingya continues - Bangladesh and Myanmar are negotiating the repatriation of Rohingya refugees. Any such effort in the current context would amount to an act of refoulement, strictly prohibited under international law. The Institute is also deeply concerned by Bangladesh’s position – despite clear evidence to the contrary – that Rohingya are “forcibly displaced nationals from Myanmar”. This position denies both their statelessness and their refugee status, each of which entitle them to international protection.

The Institute has drawn on international law standards and an analysis of the Rohingya’s present and past situation - a recurring and self-perpetuating cycle of statelessness, persecution, denial of protection and refoulement - to identify seven conditions to be met for the repatriation of the Rohingya. These seven conditions are voluntariness, UN oversight, right to nationality, equality and human rights, normalisation, accountability and rehabilitation and integration.

To read the full Comment, click here.
To read the Institute’s September 2017 Bulletin, which features this crisis, click here.

Global NGO Appeal for Urgent UN Action: Stop Myanmar’s Crimes Against Humanity

[posted 29 September 2017] The Institute joined 87 other NGOs in appealing to the UN to take urgent action to address the crimes against humanity being perpetrated by Myanmar’s armed forces against stateless Rohingya. The statement, issued ahead of the 28 September UN Security Council Public Meeting on the Rohingya crisis, calls on UN delegations to take immediate steps to adopt a UN General Assembly resolution addressing the situation. It also calls on the UN Security Council to seriously consider “an arms embargo against the military and targeted financial sanctions against individuals responsible for crimes and serious abuses.”

To read the statement, click here.

99 additional persons threatened with citizenship stripping in Turkey

[posted 22 September 2017] The Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion is deeply concerned with the issuance of a second return home “Gazette Notice” by the Turkish Government, threatening 99 Turkish citizens in exile with the stripping of their citizenship. This notice which was published on 10 September 2017, comes after 130 Turkish citizens were put on such notice on 5 June 2017. These citizens have been declared as being under investigation for crimes related to the coup d’état of 15 June 2016. They now have the choice of either returning to Turkey, where they will face the risk of an unfair investigation, arbitrary detention and even torture; or risk having their citizenship stripped, rendering many of them stateless.

These two Gazette Notifications are pursuant to Decree 680, passed as an emergency law, through which the state granted itself the authority to strip citizenship of Turkish citizens who fail to surrender themselves for investigation in relation to certain crimes. In an analysis of the Decree , the Institute found its provisions to be arbitrary and in violation of international law standards . Click here to continue reading.

Committee on the Rights of the Child issues 33 recommendations relating to nationality and statelessness at its 75th session

[posted 28 July 2017]The 75th session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) took place from 15 May to 2 June 2017. The CRC issued concluding observations to Antigua and Barbuda, Bhutan, Cameroon, Lebanon, Mongolia, Qatar, and Romania. The Committee made 33 recommendations to six States on nationality, birth registration, statelessness and the rights of stateless children. 13 recommendations were made on complying with the right to birth registration and nationality, 8 on the rights to stateless children and 12 on measures to implement Convention rights. Most recommendations related to gender discrimination in nationality laws. Other issues that were addressed included other forms of discrimination that impose barriers in acquiring a nationality (e.g. discrimination against children born out of wedlock or with a disability), birth registration and nationality, and the right to nationality for otherwise stateless children. Click here to read an overview of all recommendations made in relation to the right to a nationality and statelessness. Click here for the Institute’s country submissions and additional information for Cameroon, Lebanon and Qatar.

ISI issues Policy Brief on the threat of deprivation of nationality in Turkey

[posted 17 July 2017] The Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion notes with grave concern, recent steps taken by the government of Turkey towards the arbitrary deprivation of nationality of Turkish citizens living abroad, as well as the denial of important consular services to them. These actions come in the aftermath of the attempted military coup d’état of 15 July 2016, after which, the Turkish government engaged in wide-ranging, arbitrary and disproportionate attacks on the human rights and security of Turkish citizens. Six months after the coup d’état on 6 January 2017, Decree (KHK) 680 was published, establishing procedures for the arbitrary deprivation of nationality for Turkish citizens living outside of Turkey. There have also been many reports of the denial of consular services and related deprivations for Turkish citizens living abroad, including the cancellation and confiscation of passports, the refusal to extend the validity of passports, and the refusal to provide nationality identity cards or passports to children born to Turkish citizens abroad.

Click here to continue reading the Institute’s Policy Brief which provides a closer look at this unfolding situation and its international law implications.

See also, the Institute’s February 2017 Monthly Bulletin interview with Huseyin Humarli, President of the Journalists and Writers Foundation.

Newly updated statelessness statistics reveal ongoing challenges in measuring the issue

[posted 28 June 2017] Every year in June, as the international community marks World Refugee Day, UNHCR releases its updated statistics on the scale of the problem of forced displacement worldwide. Since 2004, these reports have also included data on the number of non-refugee stateless persons. The report published on 19 June 2017, Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2016, describes statelessness as “An ‘invisible’ problem – hard to track”. The data and narrative offered in the report confirm that the statistical picture of statelessness remains both incomplete and complex – a problem that was discussed in some detail in, amongst others, the 2013 UNHCR Statistical Yearbook. This year, the number of countries reporting a figure has actually dropped since the previous year’s Global Trends edition, from 77 to 75, with the removal of statistics on the scale of the stateless population in the Dominican Republic and Zimbabwe, and there are some other noteworthy differences in the statistical reporting. Click here to continue reading.

NGOs call for a 'fundamentally different approach' to immigration detention in Europe

[posted 22 June 2017] 53 NGOs have issued a joint statement to express collective concern that, A Fundamentally Different Approach is Needed to the immigration detention of migrants in Europe. In advance of a consultation with key civil society stakeholders from 22-23 June 2017 at the Council of Europe Headquarters in Strasbourg, collaborated on the statement, which will be presented to the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) who is carrying out a codifying exercise on a detailed set of immigration detention rules based on existing international and regional human rights standards relating to the conditions of detention of migrants. As the European Network on Statelessness campaign #lockedinlimbo also highlights, stateless people are often detained for months and even years, without any real prospect of their cases being resolved. ISI stands with civil society partners who are working to end the arbitrary deprivation of migrants – stateless or otherwise – in Europe and around the world.

A win for gender equal nationality rules in the U.S. Supreme Court: Morales-Santana case

[posted 15 June 2017] On Monday 12 June, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in the Morales-Santana case, requiring the Immigration and Nationality Act to be adjusted to remove discrimination against U.S. citizen men in their ability to transmit their citizenship to their children. Currently the law discriminates against fathers, granting women more favourable terms regarding the transmission of U.S. citizenship to their children born outside the United States. Although the ruling presents an important win in the fight for gender equal nationality rights because it acknowledges that the law is discriminatory and orders it to be modified to ensure equality, the decision also has some drawbacks. The analysis below explains in more detail. For more about the issues the case raised regarding gender discrimination in nationality laws, see also the amicus brief in which ISI participated alongside other civil society organisations. Click here to continue reading.

UN Convenes workshop on Ensuring Equal Nationality Rights of Every Woman

[posted 1 June 2017] Millions of women across the world are prohibited from acquiring, retaining, or changing their own nationality and from conferring their nationality to their spouse or children on an equal basis to men. This form of gender discrimination is embedded in the law of over fifty countries around the world. Last month, state representatives came together at a workshop at the UN Palais des Nations in Geneva for the Expert Workshop on the best practises to promote women’s equal nationality rights in law and in practice - mandated under the Human Rights Council resolution 32/7 on the right to a nationality. The focus of the workshop was to discuss efforts towards ending gender discrimination in nationality laws and ensuring every woman has equal rights to men in relation to her nationality. Click here to continue reading.

West Africa adopts action plan to end statelessness

[posted 10 May 2017] West Africa has adopted a regional Action Plan to end statelessness, with the aim of helping over a million people without a nationality gain identity papers through the adoption of new laws and better data. West African State officials, representatives of ECOWAS regional block, and UNHCR, met in Gambia to adopt a plan to end the statelessness of approximately a million people in West Africa. The six-point Action Plan seeks to improve laws and policies around statelessness, promote the use of data to track situations, ensure freedom of movement for the stateless in the region, and to guarantee their access to proof of nationality through identity documents. The action plan also aims to reduce the risk of statelessness and protect populations identified as being ‘at risk of statelessness’. ECOWAS commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, Fatimata Dia Sow said that “the subject of statelessness has come a long way on the agenda of our regional goal and now it has been taken away from the shadows, into the spotlight."

Zero Draft of the CMW-CRC Joint General Comment on the Human Rights of Children in the Context of International Migration

[posted 30 April 2017] The Zero draft of the joint general comment (JGC) of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW) and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was published on 24 April 2017. The JGC will provide guidance to States parties to both Conventions on the situation of children in the context of international migration, including children that migrate with their parents who are migrant workers; children that are born to parents who are migrant workers; and children that migrate unaccompanied and separated from their parents (for reasons such as seeking employment, family reunification or as victims of trafficking, labour exploitation and child labour). Click here to continue reading.