Statelessness or The Absence of Nationality
It is a problem affecting at least 10 Million people globally. There is no region on the planet that does not host stateless persons. In addition to the indignity being without nationality, stateless persons are often denied basic right, such as access to education and health care. While statelessness is a serious problem, it can be resolved and parliamentarians can play a vital role in achieving law reforms to prevent, reduce and ultimately, end Statelessness worldwide.
In law, statelessness is the lack of nationality, or the absence of a recognized link between an individual and any state. A stateless person is someone who is “not considered as a national by any state under the operation of its law”; he or she has no citizenship or nationality.
Parliament, the Inter-Parliament Union and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees organised a two day conference or convention to discuss how national legislatures can successfully contribute to ending statelessness worldwide.
Lawmakers were encouraged to persuade their government to accede to the Conventions as well as relevant international/regional treaties, adopt legislation that correspond to the provisions contained in the Conventions and institute safeguards against statelessness, regardless of whether they are parties to the Conventions.
Delegates identified that there was a need to understand and address the roots causes of displacement- from conflict over resources, to poor governance: human right violations or unequal access to development benefits, among others, and explore what governments, parliamentarians, the sector, humanitarian organisations civil society and others can do to address these pressing challenges. Awareness raising campaigns and partnerships between parliaments and civil society were critical to ending statelessness and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The National assembly adopted the final report of the Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Probing Violence Against Foreign Nationals. Parliament set up the multi-party committee earlier this year to investigate the outbreak of violence against foreign nationals, where seven people, three of them South Africans, lost their lives and shops were looted.
The report identifies the following roots causes- social, economic and political issues affecting both South Africans and foreign nationals and finds that the main causes of the violent attacks were criminal actions that started with the stealing of goods from foreign owned spaza by South African criminals who are often drug addicts.
The report recommended that the affected countries and parliament work together to address Social-economic and political conditions and that the relevant government bodies should continue to monitor, pre-empt and protect vulnerable communities. The Democratic Alliance described the report as flawed as it failed to recognize xenophobia as a crime. Meanwhile, the EFF criticized the report for not offering any new solutions.
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