Source: Nairobi Law Monthly
By Elsie Oyoo
By definition, a stateless person is one who is not considered a national by any State under the operation of its law. According to a 2014 Report on “The World’s Stateless” published by the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, there are at least 10 million stateless persons around the world, enough to populate a country or two. To have such a great number of people living under such a precarious civil status does not bode well because more often than not, they are kept out of their fundamental human rights and freedoms.
Although human rights are attached to the status of people as human beings and not to their status as citizens, citizenship is indispensible in unlocking those rights. For example, in order to register for the National Hospital Insurance Fund in Kenya, an applicant must have some form of identification such as a national identity card, a birth certificate for minors or a passport for foreigners. Stateless people do not ordinarily possess these identity documents. This effectively denies them their right to health as provided for by Article 43 of the Constitution of Kenya.