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Statelessness: Ammendment to Laws Affecting Citizenship for Stateless People in the US

For six years, RI has continued to promote the human rights of the some twelve million people worldwide who lack citizenship. These stateless people are deprived of accessing basic services and exercising their political and civil rights. By prompting positive change in the UN system and strengthening US government attention to the issue, the US refugee bureau gave $320,000 to UN efforts to identify people at risk of statelessness in the Sudan. The US Senate also introduced an amendment to legislation that would create a legal pathway to citizenship for stateless people in the United States. Furthermore, the UNHCR pledged greater attention to stateless people during field visits and requested that the UN General Assembly support efforts to prevent statelessness.

Successes
  • Democratic Republic of Congo: Keeping the Peace in Katanga
    RI’s June 2014 report on the crisis in Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo, called for the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers to protect vulnerable civilians in Mitwaba territory. In August, the UN’s top commander in the DRC announced that his mission was “ready to deploy” in Mitwaba.
  • Support for Syrians in Egypt
    In July 2014, the UN Refugee Agency designated additional funding for Syrian refugee operations in Egypt, a move supported by RI after its mission to the country in April.
  • Central African Republic: New Money for IDPs and Refugees
    The U.S. government announced nearly $51 million in additional humanitarian support to Central African Republic and neighboring countries. This comes after an RI report in April highlighted the huge gaps in humanitarian funding for the country. The money will help those displaced within CAR as well as refugees in neighboring countries.
  • Democratic Republic of Congo: Treat Every Camp Equally
    In 2013, RI found that the UN was not assisting at least 200,000 displaced Congolese because they lived in so-called “spontaneous sites,” rather than official camps. Following RI’s request, the UN revamped its approach to camp management and pledged to assist all Congolese IDPs on the basis of need rather than the status of their camp.
  • Central African Republic: Help for Women in Crisis
    After learning that the UN Population Fund was failing to provide post-rape kits in Central African Republic in early 2014, RI and its partners raised this problem with a senior UN official. RI explained that women were arriving at clinics in the hope of preventing sexually-transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy, but treatment was not available. Shortly after this meeting, a large stock of kits arrived in country.
  • A Safety Net for People Displaced by Disasters
    RI’s advocacy was instrumental in convincing the U.S. government to support the Nansen Initiative, which seeks solutions for people who flee their countries as a result of climate-related disasters and are not protected by the 1951 Refugee Convention. RI is also advising in the development of guidelines to better protect and assist these populations.
  • Central African Republic: Preparing for the Peacekeepers
    As violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) escalated in late 2013, RI urged the U.S. to be prepared for an eventual deployment of a new UN peacekeeping mission. To that end, RI and the Partnership for Effective Peacekeeping pressed U.S. officials to set aside funds in their budget planning for such an operation. In the March 4 release of his Fiscal Year 2015 budget, President Barack Obama proposed a new $150 million funding mechanism that, if approved, could help support a UN mission in CAR.
  • Syria: Getting Non-Camp Refugees the Aid They Need
    RI has consistently recommended more support for services that assist Syrian refugees outside of camps. Even as many large aid agencies and non-governmental organizations established programming in camps, RI repeatedly noted the lack of support for those living outside of them and requested that donors and service providers pay more attention to this enormous population. Finally, as part of its 2014 regional response plan for Syria, the UN Refugee Agency announced that it would specifically focus more of its efforts on non-camp refugees in the region.
  • Israel: Accepting African Asylum Seekers
    RI spoke with Israeli officials in late 2013 about their failure to recognize Eritreans as refugees, and offered suggestions for improvement. In February 2014, Israel granted asylum to a small number of Eritreans for the first time. RI calls on Israel to accept and evaluate all asylum claims consistent with international law.