Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

ETHNIC world war as laborers. When Congo



  The Numberg laws, also known as the anti
semitic laws were introduced in Nazi Germany in September, 1935 which barred
all the Jewish members of the country of their right to citizenship as per the
Reich citizenship law, 1935. This law stated that only those of German origin
or related blood were eligible to be Reich citizens and the Jewish population
were forbidden from marrying or having any kind of sexual relationship with the
so called German race. Supporting ordinances and state legislations to these
laws also deprived the Jews of their political rights and civil rights. Prior
to this laws their businesses were attacked and all the books authored by Jews
or any book on Jewish traditions and culture were burnt on a large scale.

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fate was met by the Roma people, also known as gypsies who were considered to
be an inferior race by the Nazis. They were also stripped off their
citizenship and many of them were incarcerated along with the Jews and other
minorities. Some of them were sent to one of the several concentration camps
where they were made to work and stay in inhuman conditions and were later
killed in gas chambers leading to mass ethnic cleansing of the minorities.




     Most of the African nations gained
independence in the 60’s and 70’s from the British and the French colonial
rule. They had an immediate situation to grapple with the agenda of building
the nation and were facing a lot of problems internally as the boundaries of
the states were drawn from elsewhere in Berlin, Europe in 1885 at the peak of
European imperialism   can be felt even today if you look at the
Banyarwanada people who have been stateless from independence. They were
Rwandan tribesmen who fled to Congo after first world war as laborers. When Congo
became independent, their citizenship law stated that those who were the
tribesmen of the state when the boundary was drawn way back in 1885. Hence, the
Banyarwanda people were left out and were not recognized by Rwanda either. In
1972 they were given citizenship in order to get their support for political
gains and this was later revoked in 1981 leaving the community stateless again.

   The English,
before leaving, provided with a watertight framework regarding citizenship
ensuring that no many would be left stateless whereas the French left the
matter of nationality on the independent newly formed governments to decide
leading to lot of chaos later on.

  The concept of
Jus Soli (citizenship by birth) proved to be unsustainable in the longer run,
hence was abolished.

   Some of the major faced by the population is
that they don’t live in their original communities any more. They had migrated
during the colonial period as laborers when there were no borders or sometimes
no  restrictions as it was ruled by the
same empire. Now they have very little or no connection to their country of
origin, also, they are not granted citizenship in the country of residence
though they have been staying there from pre independence era for the sole
reason that they are not tribesmen of the state as discussed in Banyarwanada
case. Few other similar cases are that of the Pemba, Galjael, Shona, Burundian,
Congolese, Indian and Rwandan community suffering in Kenya among whom, some
have been recognized very recently. The same fate has been met with groups in
Ethiopia and more recently South Sudan.

The other problem being cross border population. The
origin to this can again can be traced back to the border dispute as the
boundaries were drawn in a haphazard manner hence affecting millions of people
residing at the border as the nations on either side regard them with

   Some other
problems are that few governments have passed legislations to eliminate a
certain race from the state, also known as ethnic cleansing. For instance, in
Central African Republic where the Muslim minorities have been on the receiving

Also, the children of persons who have married among
different ethnicities from different countries are facing a problem of being
stateless which also include abandoned kids who are undocumented.



The plight of Sri Lankan Tamils


Over 30,000 Tamils who had settled in Sri Lanka when they first went as indentured
laborers at the tea estates during the British colonial period have fled from
to India over a conflict between Buddhist Sinhalese and the minority Hindu
Tamils. Since then they have been residing as refugees in the designated
refugee camps in the state of Tamil Nadu in India.

   These people have never found their way back
to what they used to call home as they were never integrated into the system.

They  were discriminated when they were
denied citizenship as per the Ceylon citizenship bill which later became a law
which stated that people claiming citizenship had to prove the residence of
three generations which was next to impossible for the Sri Lankan Tamils and if
so they had three generations of history, they were not documented. Hence, they
were left stateless. Much later through various agreements and pacts between
India and Sri Lanka few were given citizenship and recognized by the Indian
government and a few by the Sri Lankan counterpart but this did not resolve the
issue as a number of people residing in Sri Lanka had Indian citizenship.

  At the time of the civil war, those, large
number of people residing in refugee camps in India who still do are left
stateless as, though Indian government recognizes them as residents by
providing them with documents, but not as citizens and merely as refugees. They
cannot claim the benefit of the Grant
of Citizenship to Persons of Indian Origin Act No.35 of 2003, which
now recognizes all persons of Indian origin who have been permanently residing
in Sri Lanka as citizens. Hence, they are still considered stateless adding to
their plight.



Ending Statelessness


The two previous United Nations conventions namely, the 1951 convention
relating to the refugees and the 1967 protocol relating to the status of
refugees have not been able to receive the attention of several nations as
there are 142 member nations who are members of both the conventions, India not
being a member to either of them.

The United Nations organs and Human Rights Commission has not been
effective in dealing with the problems of the stateless people as citizenship
is regarded as a sovereign issue that can only be dealt internally. The United
Nations must have a strong hold on nations regarding this issue. They must
ensure that the global political community should commit to resolve the issue
quickly and peacefully. The action must be taken quickly because the number of
stateless have been on the rise as the younger generation have also been left
stateless on the sole reason that their parents are stateless. One third of all
the stateless today are children. This may increase if swift action is not
taken. These recommendations must be made to the council such that interim
measures can be taken by council and the member states will be under an
obligation to implement the decisions made by the council as per the UN


15 of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights (UDHR) provides that “everyone has the right to a
nationality” and that “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality
nor denied the right to change his nationality.” This above declaration in
itself has to be made a part if the domestic law.

The need of the hour to end statelessness is the
formation of monitoring bodies. These bodies must not be social authorities as
UNHCR satisfies the need of a social body but we need an international
political Authority like that of the Human Rights which must ensure that all
the international treaties and agreements on citizenship are followed
effectively by the binding nations and whether the international laws on the
subject are respected and adhered to



Statelessness caused by the fall of the Soviet Union


The Soviet Union was a union of nations, which
was formed as a result of the October Revolution, 1917.  It was a union of all the socialist states and
was a one party state with Moscow as it’s capital. Though the USSR was a union
of nations, their economy was centralized.

     During the late 80’s and 90’s there were
several national movements in parts of the USSR demanding a separate state
based on ethnicity taking lead from the polish national movement. Also, when Mikhail Gorbachev came to power he introduced several
reforms like that of perestroika and glasnost, which made the Soviet state a
communist-capitalist system much like that of modern China. Glasnost introduced
the system of transparency and recognized freedom of speech, freedom of press
etc., which had been curtailed for years under the communist rule. These
reforms went against the government and the division within USSR based on
ethnicities led by the national movements and rebellion, paved way for the fall
of the Soviet Union. As a result it was split into commonwealth of 15
independent states on December 25th, 1991.

     In the course of the
formation, 280 million people lost their citizenship or were denied citizenship
by the new states as per their newly introduced policies, which discriminated
based on ethnicities. The voluntary repatriation of Crimean people to Crimea
from Central Asia after 1991 was also not recognized and this happened with a
large number of people who were forced to move out of their homeland during
Stalin’s rule and were never able to return before the dissolution of the
union. When similar incidents occurred elsewhere those affected people moved
back to Russia in search for a safer haven. Lot of problems have to be tackled
in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyztan where many people have been stateless
from the time of dissolution for the reasons mentioned above. The actual count
of stateless people is still unknown because of the poor standard of recording
and documenting done in these areas.





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