This Update tracks a number of exciting developments related to statelessness that have taken place globally in the last 3 months, demonstrating increased international awareness and determination to address the issue. These include landmark decisions in Kenya and in Madagascar. In Kenya, the Government officially recognized the Makonde, a long-standing stateless group, as the 43rd official tribe in Kenya, and over 1000 members of the Makonde have now received citizenship documentation in a process that is ongoing. Madagascar amended its nationality law to allow women to pass nationality to their children on an equal basis as men . During the same period, two governments took important steps to accede to the UN Statelessness Conventions: Luxembourg’s Parliament adopted a law to accede to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, and the Haitian Parliament voted to accede to both Statelessness Conventions.
In February, delegations from 27 diplomatic missions to the United Nations came together for the fifth meeting of the group of Friends of the #IBelong Campaign to End Statelessness and discussed how to make strategic use of multilateral initiatives like the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Refugee Compact to help end statelessness. Progress continued against a number of Actions of the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness, notably including developments in the Americas with respect to Action 6, which relates to granting status to stateless persons and facilitating their naturalization. UNHCR also launched a new Good Practices Paper on Action 2 (Ensuring that no child is born stateless) to help States and other stakeholders collaborate to ensure that safeguards are in place to prevent childhood statelessness.
The UNHCR operation in Thailand reconnected with Artee , a former stateless individual, to discuss the impact that obtaining Thai nationality has had on her. When UNHCR met her in 2015, Artee Ma-Yer was a stateless student in northern Thailand. She shared her dreams and challenges in a workshop with stateless youth in Chiang Rai province and was featured in a UNHCR report titled, “I Am Here, I Belong: The Urgent Need to End Childhood Statelessness.” Two years later, Artee has acquired Thai nationality with the help of UNHCR’s partner, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).
Download from UNHCR website.