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Rutgers Model United Nations - IDIA

Rutgers Model United Nations - IDIA


Rutgers Model United Nations 7 reduction of statelessness is now a political wedge, which gives power to the politicians who shed light upon the issue. 23 18 June 2004: Film Brings to Light a True Story of Statelessness In 2004, Steven Spielberg released a film which depicted a man stuck in John F. Kennedy Airport because of a revolution in his home state that renders his documentation illegitimate under the law of the United States. This movie brought the plight of statelessness to Hollywood, 24 but the story is based on the true life of Mehran Karimi Nasser, who was once stuck in Paris’s Charles DeGaulle airport because his documents were invalid under French law. Nasser’s story is is difficult to actually play out onscreen (Nasser’s home country of Iran exiled him, and he then renounced his second citizenship without attaining a third), but due to the complicated nature of international law and the right of sovereign states to enforce their own regulations regarding citizenship, it is a story that makes one thing clear: with things as they stand now, once affected by statelessness, a person faces almost impossible difficulties in getting out of that situation. 25 Actors and Interests Stateless People The UNHCR’s recent survey estimates that there are “eleven million people globally without a country to call their own.” 26 Stateless people are of course at the center of the issue when it comes to reducing statelessness throughout the world, and through their own words, citizens and nations gain the most insight into how to alleviate the situation of having no home. The preferred policy for stateless people is for a state--either their original state or 23 Soprych, Thomas A. “The Breakup of Yugoslavia: 1990-1997.” April 21, 1997. [Accessed on March 26, 2008 at] 24 International Movie Database. “The Terminal.” 2008. {Accessed on April 9, 2008 at] 25 Adams, Cecil. “Has a guy been stuck in the Paris airport since 1988 for lack of the right papers?” August 29, 1999. [Accessed on March 26, 2008 at] 26 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “The World’s Stateless People: Questions and Answers.”

Rutgers Model United Nations 8 another state-- to grant them citizenship without the burden of proof of statelessness or the ceaseless jumping through hoops. “Citizenship,” according to Chief Justice Earl Warren of the United States Supreme Court, “is man’s most basic right, for it is nothing less than the right to have rights.” 27 Without a nationality, a stateless person is unable to claim protection from a government, nor is he able to appeal to a legal body when his rights have been violated. Stateless populations are, therefore, in a constant legal limbo that can only abate when they finally receive citizenship from a recognized nation. The most optimal outcome for stateless people is slightly different than their preferred policy. Stateless people are at risk because they are unable to lay claim to basic legal rights: receiving healthcare, opening a bank account, or even report crimes, such as rape, that people commit against them. 28 For a stateless person, simply gaining employment is generally impossible, and therefore, his most optimal goal would be the simple ability and allowance to live with very basic legal rights without the risk of persecution. By earning a wage, having access to healthcare when necessary, and affording an education for their children, stateless people can enjoy the most basic and simple rights, without necessarily having all the allowances that come with being a citizen. Once stateless, most people are forced out of the life they lived and are consequently placed in a constant struggle to survive from day to day. In a stateless person’s attempts to regain a nationality, the main motivation is one of economic and social survival. As mentioned before, stateless people are unable to gain employment, receive healthcare, or ensure an education for their children. A clear distinction between people who are subsequently stateless and those who are stateless from birth is that the former group once enjoyed the rights they eventually have to fight to gain back. The situation in which a subsequently stateless person finds himself allows him to remember 2006. Page 6. 27 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “Nationality and Statelessness: A Handbook for Parliamentarians.” 2005. Back Cover. [Accessed on March 4, 2008 at] 28 Spindler, William. “The Excluded: The Hidden World of the Stateless.” 2007. [Accessed on April 1, 2008 at]

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