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Sat Mar 18, 2023, 02:37 PM

Why Women Are More Likely to Be 'Citizens of Nowhere'

And the WAR ON WOMEN continues apace

Why Women Are More Likely to Be ‘Citizens of Nowhere’
3/14/2023 by Mary Giovagnoli and Karina Ambartsoumian-Clough
More than 10 million people are stateless around the globe, with no “home” country to call their own—and women and children are most likely to fall outside citizenship laws.

Danah was born in Kuwait to a Kuwaiti mother. Danah’s father is not Kuwaiti. Women cannot pass their citizenship to their children under Kuwaiti law, so she is literally a citizen of nowhere. (Courtesy)

This month’s celebration of women’s history, and International Women’s Day last week, offers a chance to pause and appreciate the incredible work women do every day—whether in the public eye, the work world, or in the quiet confines of home. But what if ‘home’ itself is something a woman has to fight for? For stateless women, their very existence—and the right to live a life as a full citizen of a country—has been blotted out by geopolitics and sexism. In the United States, many of these women are organizing not only for their own protection, but to create a world where no person is stateless.

People who are stateless do not have citizenship in any country in the world. Often, it’s described as being a ‘citizen of nowhere.’ More than 10 million people are stateless around the globe, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’s (UNHCR) #IBelong campaign. This is often because of discriminatory nationality laws that do not confer citizenship at birth: Only 33 of 195 countries, including the U.S., grant citizenship to anyone born within the country regardless of their parent’s nationality or citizenship. Many countries explicitly deny citizenship based on ethnicity or other characteristics, while many others have discriminatory laws that make it difficult for women to pass on nationality. In 20 countries, even when a woman is a citizen, her children cannot acquire citizenship through her—only through the father.
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Karina Ambartsoumian-Clough, executive director of United Stateless. When she was 4 years old, she fled the Soviet Union in the area that is now Ukraine, after years of ethnic discrimination. (Courtesy)

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Under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every person has a right to a nationality. But nationality and citizenship are integral to a nation’s sovereign power, so each country is generally free to resolve the problem on its own. Through the advocacy of the UNHCR and United Stateless, there is a growing recognition of the need to find a solution to statelessness—both as a domestic matter and internationally.

The Biden administration has made some promises starting in 2021 with a pledge to ‘define’ statelessness under the law and create a framework for some kind of administrative legal status for stateless persons in the U.S. In 2022, the administration promised to move with urgency “this fiscal year,” but so far there have been no announcements. Congress has also shown some interest in the issue—Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rep. Jamie Raskin’s (D-Md.) Stateless Protection Act could help stateless people find a path to citizenship.

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Reply Why Women Are More Likely to Be 'Citizens of Nowhere' (Original post)
niyad Mar 18 OP
Igel Mar 19 #1
niyad Mar 19 #2

Response to niyad (Original post)

Sun Mar 19, 2023, 10:22 AM

1. Perhaps we need to return to having Nansen passports.

Esp. since Putin's been stripping Russians of citizenship if they flee the country, albeit temporarily.

Would handle a lot of issues for the stateless, even if not all.

It's an example of how a right imposes a positive obligation for somebody else that might not be willing to comply.

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Response to Igel (Reply #1)

Sun Mar 19, 2023, 10:39 AM

2. Thank you for this. I just looked it up. Holders of these "stateless passports"

included aristotle onassis, Anna Pavlova, and "colonel" tom parker.

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