Thursday, 1 August 2013

First survey responses indicate NHRIs continue to assist stateless people

With survey responses continuing to come in the team decided to embark on supplementary research on what action NHRIs had recently taken on the subject matter of statelessness. Delving into Annual Reports from NHRIs, the team were able to uncover information on the numerous contexts in which the issue of statelessness has recently arisen. For instance the Malaysian NHRI recently addressed the issue of statelessness in the context of protecting the rights of vulnerable children as part of research for a report for the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Another example is the recent involvement of the Belgium NHRI, in partnership with the UNHCR, in a ‘mapping statelessness in Belgium’.

We intend that the research into recent action by NHRIs on statelessness will form a key part of the eventual report produced from this study. Discussions with the Netherlands NHRI have revealed repeated interest in finding out about what other NHRIs are doing in relation to the issue of statelessness, and we consider it to be one of the key goals of the study.

Meanwhile, we have also drawn up a list of priority countries that we are particularly interested in receiving survey responses from. This list was determined based on five criteria:

1.       Having a large statelessness population
2.       Nationality laws that discriminate based on gender
3.       The country's position in relation to the statelessness conventions
4.       Recent major reform of nationality laws affecting stateless populations
5.       Other, including countries that had initially expressed interest in the survey, and countries where issues relating to statelessness were known to exist or to have previously existed.

Those countries identified as priority countries, were sent an email on the 26th July, stating why we believe they would be interested in the results of a study on statelessness and the role of NHRIs, and requesting that they answer the survey at the earliest possible convenience.

In the meantime we would like to thank everyone who has supported and assisted the project so far. We are looking forward to being able to produce a report that can both assist NHRIs on the issue of statelessness, and continues to shine a spotlight on the issue.

Monica Neal, Summer Research Intern, Statelessness Programme

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