UN WELCOMES UAE’S PLAN TO TACKLE PLIGHT OF STATELESS PEOPLE
COMMENTARY ARCHIVES, 12 Oct 2008
The United Nations refugee agency has welcomed a decision by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to resolve the situation of thousands of stateless people living there, and voiced the hope that the Persian Gulf nation’s efforts will encourage other countries in the region to do the same.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are thousands of stateless people living in different parts of the Middle East. When state boundaries were established and the Gulf States were formed, some countries used tribal affiliations rather than borders to determine citizenship.
As a result, thousands of people were left out and ended up without the nationality of any state. Without nationality, stateless people in are often unable to travel or gain access to the full range of public services, including education, that are available to citizens. Children of stateless people are also born stateless.
“UNHCR is keen to see a positive outcome for this process,” the agency’s spokesperson, William Spindler, told reporters in Geneva.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Interior announced the launch of a two-month campaign for the registration of the country’s stateless population, who are referred to as the Bidoon.
It has also established four registration centres in the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman, where applicants fill out forms explaining why they should be granted UAE nationality. These centres will continue to accept applications for registration until the end of October.
“We are encouraged to see the high level of interest among the stateless population as shown by the number of application forms distributed in the first day of registration and the media awareness campaign carried by the government of the UAE to encourage registration,” said Mr. Spindler.
Two years ago, efforts by the Government to tackle the issue resulted in the naturalization of a first group of close to 1,300 people stateless people.
The agency has recommended additional steps to address statelessness and encourage a process that meets international standards. “We hope that a successful resolution of this issue in the UAE will encourage other countries in the region to follow suit in addressing the problem of statelessness,” Mr. Spindler stated.
DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Click here to go to the current weekly digest or pick another article: