Rutgers Model United Nations - IDIA
Rutgers Model United Nations 5 two nations resulted in hundreds of thousands of Biharis, “an Urdu-speaking Muslim minority,” 18 who considered themselves Pakistani. The Biharis fought for West Pakistan during the war and as the official army evacuated, the Bihari population remained. The conflict forced the Biharis to effectively strand themselves within Bangladeshi borders. Immediately upon forming the nation of Bangladesh, officials stripped the Bihari population of their citizenship and forced them to move into sixty-six camps scattered throughout the nation. The Bangladeshi government administered the camps and still to this day despise the Biharis for their support of West Pakistan. Conditions have not improved for the majority of the camp populations, as they are still denied citizenship. This denial results in their inability to gain proper employment, find healthcare for their family, or provide an education for their children. The Bihari people’s situation marks the first time since the UN 1954 and 1961 Conventions on Statelessness that a nation stripped citizenship from such a large population. 19 January 1972: Banyamulenge Gain Citizenship In 1972, the Banyamulenge people, a faction of the Rwanda-based Banyarwanda tribe which emigrated to Zaire centuries before, were granted citizenship by President Mobutu and the Zairian government after relations between the government and the tribe improve. 20 The Zairian government had initially denied the Banyamulenge their citizenship because they were not ancestrally descendent from Zaire. In response to their assistance in quelling a Communist uprising of Mulele rebels in 1964, however, the government decided to grant citizenship to all Banyamulenge who had settled in Zaire prior to 1950. This event marks the first time that a government granted citizenship and rights in a sovereign nation to a stateless population, not just an individual. 21 18 Ibid., 13. 19 Ibid. 20 Refugees International, “Lives on Hold: Global Review of Statelessness – Africa,” 2004. 21 Lynch, M. “Lives on Hold: The Human Cost of Statelessness.” Refugees International. Washington, D. C. February. 2005, 27. [Accessed on March 4, 2008 at: http://www.refugeesinternational.org/content/publication/detail/5051/
Rutgers Model United Nations 6 14 September 1988: Saddam Hussein Persecutes Kurds A 1988 New York Times article shed light on information regarding one of the greatest atrocities committed against a stateless population. From intercepted communications, the Reagan administration determined that Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons against the stateless Kurd minority living in northern Iraq. The event was a precursor to the 1991 Gulf War and displayed a concrete example of the lack of rights governments could afford to stateless people. The UN attempted to intervene, but Iraq invoked its right to sovereignty and denied access to any UN investigating team. Hussein, however, did extend an open invitation to journalists in a presumably political move to discredit any claims made against his regime. The event marks the ongoing struggle that stateless people suffer as they are forced to living in nations that actively deny them citizenship and often take increasingly aggressive actions towards their population. 22 1990-1997: Number of Stateless People Grow in the Balkans In 1997, the Federation of Yugoslavian Republics, an extremely diverse nation in the Balkans, broke into several different nations after intense fighting between Bosnians- Muslims, Serbs, and Croats. The division of the federation into several smaller states coupled with the mass movement of large populations without a proper home within the former Yugoslavia resulted in a large stateless population throughout the region. People from the former Yugoslavia often could not find citizenship in any one of the new states that formed based on ethnic or religious background, and even now, many in the region remain stateless. The UN and the European Union have made steps in recent years to reduce this number of stateless people, but governments hinder the efforts at the national level. For example, Serbia does not grant citizenship to people born in other sections of the former Yugoslavia. The efforts which the UN and EU undertake do have an effect though; many states in recent years have introduced new citizenship laws, and the 22 Pears, Robert. Special to The New York Times. “U.S. Says It Monitored Iraqi Messages on Gas.” New York Times (1857-Current file) [New York, N. Y.] 15 September, 1988, A12. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2004) via IRIS, http://www.progquest.com/.