What: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): “Out from the Shadows: Ending Statelessness in the Americas”
When: Tuesday November 18, 2014
6:00 to 8:30 pm
Where: The Newseum
555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 8th floor
In celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) will launch the Americas Network on Nationality and Statelessness at the UNHCR event “Out from the Shadows: Ending Statelessness in the Americas” on Tuesday evening.
The event marks the launch of the UNHCR-led global campaign to end statelessness in 10 years. Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director for CEJIL will present at the event on behalf of the network, an advocacy platform of 30 organizations whose main objective is to raise awareness and exchange information to guarantee the right to nationality across the region.
“The Americas Network on Nationality and Statelessness is a network of civil society organizations, academic initiatives, and individual experts committed to address statelessness in the Americas. We believe that all human beings have a right to a nationality and that those who lack nationality altogether – stateless persons – are entitled to adequate protection,” said Krsticevic, “With the input and expertise of dozens of organizations working on the issue of statelessness across the hemisphere, we believe the network will play a key role in helping the UNHCR achieve its goals in the Americas.”
According to the UNHCR, statelessness affected up to at least 10 million people by the end of 2013. In the Americas, a number of situations exist that merit closer examination where specific individuals or groups are either stateless or at risk of statelessness. These situations include gender discriminatory provisions of citizenship laws, discriminatory practices, disputed or undetermined nationality, the status of children who are not lawfully residing in the country or born to parents lacking valid identity documents, among others. The network will work to craft strategic tools needed to address potential situations of statelessness and identify actual cases of the phenomenon throughout the region.
The event and network’s unveiling comes on the heels of a ruling issued to the public on October 23, 2014 by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR). The ruling found that the Dominican Republic violated the human rights of Dominicans of Haitian descent, many of whom were children, through a process of discrimination, mass expulsions and arbitrary deprivation of nationality. Known as Expelled Dominican and Haitian Persons vs. The Dominican Republic, the case was litigated by CEJIL in partnership with local organizations and addressed domestic jurisprudence and laws that left over 200,000 people in a situation of statelessness.