Friday, 17 June 2016

UNHCR bemoans stateless children’s plight

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR), on Thursday said that it was imperative for African governments to rededicate themselves to the protection of stateless

Statelessness is a condition where a group of persons or individuals have no national identity of any country.

The UNHCR made the appeal in a statement to mark this year’s celebration of the International Day of the African Child, with the theme ``Conflict and Crisis in Africa: Protecting all Children’s Rights’’.

According to the statement, Statelessness traps children in a vicious cycle of isolation and exclusion that increases their risk of exposure to violence and abuse.

``Today, Africa celebrates the International Day of the African Child. It is estimated that there are 1 million stateless people in West Africa. More than half of them are children.

``These stateless children often fall outside the scope of existing legal protections such as prohibitions on child labour, since they are unable to provide documentary proof of their age.

``We all need to know that everyone has the right to a nationality and that every child has the right to acquire a nationality,’’ it said.

The statement noted that the challenge was only being addressed in treaties, but was yet to be addressed in practice.

According to it, conflict and crisis increase the risk of statelessness, as people are forced to abandon their identity documents when fleeing from conflict.

The statement said that the UNHCR had celebrated the Day by sharing its new video on Stateless Children in West Africa, across countries in the region.