UN agencies call for action to bolster rights of Europe’s stateless children

© UNHCR/Roger Arnold Ajnur Demir poses for a portrait with his family while attending a UNHCR stateless workshop in Skopje, North Macedonia.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


United Nations agencies are calling on States and regional organizations across Europe to take urgent action to ensure that thousands of currently stateless children are given the support and protection they deserve.

With more than 500,000 people in Europe estimated to be unrecognized as a citizen of any country, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) underscored that children without a nationality have limited access to basic rights and services, like education or healthcare, and can face life-long discrimination.

“Life is stacked against a stateless child right from the start”, said UNHCR’s Europe Bureau Director Pascale Moreau, adding that legal obstacles often mean their dreams are “dashed before they are adults, and their potential squandered”.

As the overall number of asylum-seeking children in Europe has grown since 2010, so too has the number of children identified as stateless. In 2017 some 2,100 children were registered as such, representing a four-fold increase compared to seven years earlier.

Basic rights and services, including education and healthcare, are denied to children without a nationality. Lacking official documents, they are also at greater risk of violence, trafficking and life-long discrimination. Moreover, along with their families, they are often exposed to arrest and detention.

“Every child has the right to a name and a nationality,” said UNICEF Regional Director and Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Response in Europe, Afshan Khan.

He underscored that Governments have a responsibility to adopt safeguards that prevent a child from being born stateless and “to provide legal aid and support to ensure every stateless child realizes their right to citizenship.”

The UN agencies said children born stateless are at a particular disadvantage, explaining that they cannot inherit their parents’ nationality due to gender discrimination and gaps in nationality laws. Children born in Europe whose births are not registered are another vulnerable group that includes minority populations, like the Roma.

And children from countries with known stateless populations who enter Europe as refugees and asylum-seekers are particularly defenseless.

While birth registration rates are high in Europe, UNHCR and UNICEF are pushing for information campaigns that target families most at risk, to help identify and register them.

Achieving legal identity for all through birth registration, is one of the goals of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

While UNICEF is working to ensure all children are registered at birth, UNHCR’s #IBelong Campaign aims to end Statelessness by 2024.

What solutions are there to help tackle statelessness?

  • Properly identify and protect every stateless refugee or migrant child upon arrival in Europe.
  • Simplify procedures for stateless children to acquire a nationality as soon as possible.
  • Adopt or amend legislation to include safeguards that grant nationality to all children born in a country who would otherwise be stateless.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

3 steps to boost your digital safety while working from home

Here are 4 ways investors can influence more secure and responsible innovation

Germany loves a strong euro; the new Fiscal Councils can deliver despite the Greek chaos and a wider questioning of austerity

Which countries get the most sleep – and how much do we really need?

Will the three major parties retain control of the new EU Parliament?

Five avoidable deaths per minute shows urgent need for action on patient safety

Idai disaster: Stranded victims still need rescue from heavy rains as UN scales up response

Humans aren’t made for repetition – it’s time AI took over manufacturing

A chemistry professor explains: why soap is so good at killing COVID-19

Driving structural change through global value chains integration

EU to spend €135.5 billion in 2014 or 6.5% less than this year

Vaccine against Ebola: Commission grants new market authorisations

Car bomb attack on National Police Academy in Colombia, ‘strongly condemned’ by UN

Algorithmic warfare is coming. Humans must retain control

This AI outperformed 20 corporate lawyers at legal work

A Sting Exclusive: “Europe must be more ambitious in COP21 and lead on climate finance and sustainable development”, Green UK MEP Jean Lambert points out from Brussels

Security Council urged to act with ‘one strong voice’ on raft of ills plaguing Middle East and North Africa

‘Endemic’ sexual violence surging in South Sudan: UN human rights office

Banks get trillions and the unemployed ECB’s love…

UN food aid to Yemen will fully resume after two-month break, as Houthis ‘guarantee’ delivery

At UN, Cuba slams US ‘criminal’ practices undermining country’s development

What do Europeans believe about the crisis and the possible way out?

The EU pretends not knowing what happens in the Western Balkans

Three ways the world must tackle mental health

State aid: Commission approves €6 billion German measure to recapitalise Lufthansa

This AI can predict your personality just by looking at your eyes

How music can help children with autism connect

UN appeals for international support as flood waters rise in wake of second Mozambique cyclone

What is carbon offsetting?

Number of members in Parliament’s committees to change after Brexit

Refugees now make up 1% of the world’s population

‘Democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people’ must be met urges Guterres, following military removal of al-Bashir from power

This is how COVID-19 is affecting indigenous people

Forward Agenda: What can we expect from 2019?

EP supports local authorities fighting the effects of the pandemic

World Editors Forum President: Credible media vital in the fight against COVID-19 and fake news epidemic

Britain heading to national schism on exit from EU

How should cities prepare for self-driving cars? Here’s a roadmap

UN-led Yemen ceasefire monitoring team gets ready to begin operations

On sidelines of UN climate summit, US President calls for protection of religious freedom

Canada has the most comprehensive and elaborate migration system, but some challenges remain

EU Summit: Why was Poland isolated in opposing Tusk and the ‘multi speed’ Europe

Young people are not a nameless, faceless mass. So why do we treat them as such?

Reasons to hope and reasons to keep perspective on a vaccine

Gender equality within junior enterprises: the effect of President’s gender

Fair Taxation: EU updates list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions

This is our chance to completely redefine the meaning of work

EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey: third annual report shows continued vital and tangible support for refugees and their host communities

Create conditions for ‘harmony between humankind and nature’, UN chief says on sidelines of G20 in Japan

How the future of computing can make or break the AI revolution

This project is turning abandoned fishing gear into volleyball nets

EU shapes its ambitious strategy on India

Draghi to lay his print on long term ECB policies prior to exiting next year

Eurozone: There is a remedy for regional convergence

“Working together to make a change at the COP 21 in Paris”, an article by Ambassador Yang of the Chinese Mission to EU

Energy: EU priority projects should be aligned with 2050 climate objectives

Brexit: Only Corbyn and May in concert can make the needed compromises

Latin America is a mass-transit powerhouse. But it needs fine-tuning

3 vital steps to a new gender equality playbook

IMF: The near-term outlook for the U.S. economy is one of strong growth and job creation

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s