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Rutgers Model United Nations - IDIA

Rutgers Model United Nations - IDIA

Rutgers

Rutgers Model United Nations 3 found. 13 Finally, sovereign nations can help by reviewing their policies regarding stateless people. In a situation where the burden of proof falls on the weakest member involved, reducing the occurrences of subsequent statelessness will only occur by state policies that encourage citizenship and nationality. 14 Chronology 28 September 1954: Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons The United Nations held the Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons in 1954, and the Convention’s final Act was ratified on 28 September 1954 by twenty member nations of the UN. 15 The document was originally a protocol attached to the final Act of the Refugee Convention held in 1951, but members deemed it an important enough issue during the interim to warrant its own convention. This was the first time that the term “stateless” was used to describe a particular population, and the document formally describes the causes and possible solutions to reducing occurrences of statelessness. Several states signed the agreement with reservations, but the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees heralded the Convention itself as the first major step towards aiding persons affected by statelessness. To date, fifty-nine nations are party to the Convention and in signing, have established their commitment to assist persons who are stateless, reduce the number of people who are currently stateless, and provide safety nets to prevent populations from becoming subsequently stateless in the future. This convention is also important because it includes in its final pages the draft of a possible “Stateless Passport” that could be used as a temporary form of identification by a stateless person to gain access to a nation that may allow them to begin life anew. 12 Ibid, 26. 13 Ibid. 14 UNHCR, “Nationality and Statelessness: A Handbook for Parliamentarians,” 2005, Page 50. [Accessed on March 4, 2008 at http://www.unhcr.org/protect/46cc46ee2.html] 15 UN Economic and Social Council. “1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.” Resolution number 5158. New York City. September 28, 1954. [Accessed on March 4, 2008 at: http://www.unhcr.org/protect/46cc46ee2.html]

Rutgers Model United Nations 4 30 August 1961: OHCHR Holds Second Convention The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights held a second Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness in 1961. 16 This convention is more specific in its guidelines for nations as to how to reduce statelessness. Including more detailed explanations as to how statelessness occurs, this convention marks the second time that the UN as a body attempted to address the issue and illustrates the importance the UN places on protecting populations that are most at risk throughout the world. Similar to the 1954 Convention, there was still no indication of the number of stateless people living in the world during this time. 1967: US Hints at Concept of Renouncing Citizenship The United States Supreme Court ruled “that citizenship can be lost only if freely and expressly renounced.” 17 Through this act, the U.S., as a sovereign nation, effectively stated that citizens who renounced their U.S. citizenship could expect to no longer be protected by the U.S. government and would therefore become stateless. While this ruling did not greatly affect the status of stateless people throughout the world, it reestablished the rights of sovereign nations to grant the protections of citizenship only to people that actively declare and show themselves to be citizens of that sovereign nation. The ruling could also be used as precedence in international cases regarding the renouncing of citizenship by an individual, an act that results in the individual’s subsequent status of statelessness being used as a reason that the nation cannot be held accountable. 16 December 1971: Stateless Biharis In 1971, East Pakistan declared independence from West Pakistan and renamed itself Bangladesh, after the majority population of Bengalis. The war fought between the 16 United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. “Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.” New York City. August 13, 1961. [Accessed on March 4, 2008 at http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/o_reduce.htm] 17 Lynch, M. “Lives on Hold: The Human Cost of Statelessness.” Refugees International. Washington, D. C. February. 2005, 30. [Accessed on March 4, 2008 at: http://www.refugeesinternational.org/content/publication/detail/5051/]

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