Source: Mail & Guardian (South Africa)
By Nezo Sobekwa, Luyanda Ndaba
“To be stateless is like you don’t exist; you live in a parallel world with no proof of your identity,” says Leal in a United Nations Refugee Agency video, Voices of Stateless: Leal’s Story — Lebanon. Her grandfather did not register her father’s birth and thus he could not register Leal’s birth. This means her marriage could not be registered and so she could not register the birth of her children.
Leal is one of millions of people in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region who find themselves without a sense of identity or belonging.
Living without a birth certificate or an identity document means in most countries no rights to housing, water, healthcare or basic education, as well as exclusion from meaningful participation in public life.