Rutgers Model United Nations - IDIA
Rutgers Model United Nations 17 These policies seemed to hold well for many years until, similar to situations based on political affiliation, a new leader came to power. Policies that deny citizenship to immigrant workers for economic reasons are most often based on nationalist zealousness and ideals rather than fears of political, racial, or ethnic differences. In Sri Lanka, the Estate Tamils came to Sri Lanka from India in the early ninetteth century by British tea producers. While working the plantations, they occupied “the lowest socio-economic strata of Sri Lankan society,” but still enjoyed a peaceful coexistence with the native Sri Lankans, even gaining the right to vote in 1928. Following the Sri Lankan independence in 1948, however, the Estate Tamils were stripped of their citizenship due to their lack of ancestral tie to the land and because of the economic strata in which they resided. There are currently reforms underway that allow Estate Tamils to gain Sri Lankan citizenship, but the process is slow and has been forced into several stalemates due to increased pressure from India. 57 The Cote D’Ivoire was once heralded in Africa as the “model of successful economic and social development.” During the reign of President Houphouet Boigny, immigration was “greatly encouraged” and “migrants were allowed free movement across borders and simple registration granted them the right to vote.” This changed in 1993, when President Konan Bedie took power and introduced the term “Ivoirite” to distinguish between native Ivorians and immigrants. After removing all of the rights the migrant workers previously enjoyed, such as free movement, property ownership, and voting, some migrant workers were systematically expelled to Burkina Faso. The policies of President Bedie were based on economic fears that migrant workers were becoming too self-sufficient and on fears that migrant workers would overrun the nation. These policies were challenged in the early 21st Century, as migrant workers began to revolt, however, the situation is currently at a standstill and no progress can be made until the violence is ended. 58 Comparison of Causes 57 Ibid, Page 11.
Rutgers Model United Nations 18 Each cause of subsequent statelessness has the same underlying ideology: Fear of that which is different. While certain cases appear to have a more justified purpose, such as Bangladesh’s refusal to grant citizenship to the population that opposed their independence, other cases are based on nothing more than national zealousness, such as in the DRC. It is also clear that in some cases where a population has been subsequently denied citizenship, the lines are not clearly drawn as to why. Political, ethnic, and economic reasons overlap in most cases but the solution to problem will not be found in ending differences within these categories. Instead, it will be found when understanding stateless people and the international community doing whatever it can to help. Projections and Implications The problem of statelessness has plagued the world since the inception of the United Nations. Beginning with the first Convention on Statelessness in 1954, nations have discussed every aspect of statelessness, including how to prevent its occurrences, repatriating stateless people, and providing for people who are without a nationality. After fifty years, however, the problem is still growing and the implications of the continued existence of a stateless population throughout the world are severe. Most succinctly, “statelessness creates a severely disadvantaged legal situation resulting in the inability to exercise the rights and freedoms afforded by law.” 59 Stateless people are essentially denied the right to have the protection of a nation. According to one report, “people who are denied citizenship are also denied the means to safeguard their health.” 60 The same report also notes “in most cases, denial of citizenship deprives children and adults of the right to public education. States do not often overtly contest the right to education of the non-citizens, yet they maintain conditions that limit or prohibit access to schools.” 61 This means that even the most basic services are inaccessible to people who do not have citizenship. This denial of access to basic 58 Ibid., Page 13, 14 59 Simperingham, 6. 60 Sokoloff, 22. 61 Ibid.