Wednesday’s conference on statelessness and the right to nationality in the Dominican Republic (DR) saw presenters from many countries and fields of work join in a constructive dialogue.
This example of statelessness, caused by the retroactive loss of nationality rights for Dominicans of Haitian descent in the DR’s new constitution, has been a major source of civil strife. It has left many without access to their rights, and has shaken their most basic sense of who they are and where they belong.
Today, leaders from government, civil society, and the UN gathered at the US Institute of Peace to explore statelessness and its impact on women worldwide. The Institute's sparkling new headquarters played host to an insightful and inspiring discussion - a fitting kick-off for a week full of stateless advocacy here at RI.
“My son heard my husband knocking some nails into the wall and he actually thought this noise was me killing his father,” a Kuwaiti woman, whom I will call Mona, told me. I am currently in Kuwait with my Refugees International colleague, assessing the needs of this country’s stateless population.
“You’re in Sweden now,” the asylum seeker was told as he was dropped in a Latvian forest. The news marked yet another phase in one refugee’s search for safety. Latvia has been historically resistant to inbound migration. Although the country began receiving small numbers of asylum seekers in the late 1990s one human rights worker reminded me, “As a country we’re fairly new to this. Our asylum law meets minimum standards of the EU. The problem is how it is implemented.”
This article originally ran in The Huffington Post.
The Dadaab refugee camp in Northeastern Kenya is over 20 years old and has received successive waves of refugees, reflecting the political turmoil and violence against civilians that continues to engulf Somalia. I visited the camp this week and met with many Somalis who have fled civil war and sought refuge here. After talking with these people, it is clear to me that the United States and the international community must invest in the future of Somalia’s refugees if we want to build a peaceful Somalia.