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HRC38 – SR on racism: MRG’s statement on racial and ethnic discrimination as a root cause of statelessness

2 July 2018

UN Human Rights Council

38th session

Interactive Dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism (item 9)

Thank you Mister President, Madame Special Rapporteur,

At the outset, as this is the first report you are presenting to the Council, Ms. Tendayi Achiume, Minority Rights Group would like to warmly congratulate you on your appointment and wish you a productive mandate in the service of all victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

MRG welcomes the theme of your report, which constitutes a timely contribution to the #iBelong campaign to end statelessness by 2024, to which our organization is fully committed.

Your report highlights one of the fundamental root causes of the persistence and perpetuation of the phenomenon of statelessness globally. Indeed, our work led us to the conclusion that beyond the particular administrative and legal mechanisms that create and maintain statelessness, there is frequently a more fundamental force at play – discrimination. For members of certain communities, statelessness is the extension of a long history of exclusion and denial.

Examples are manifold. From Dominicans of Haitian descent stripped of their Dominican nationality almost 5 years ago to Rohingya in Myanmar, whose persecution has been built on a steady attrition of their civic rights over decades of military rule. From Fayli Kurds in Iraq to Ethnic Cambodians in Vietnam, from Maragoli in Uganda and Mbororo in Cameroon to Bidoon in Kuwait, from indigenous sea nomadic groups denied nationality by Thailand and Myanmar to stateless Roma in Russia, Slovakia or Italy, MRG has documented many cases showing that statelessness is often not an accident but a logical outcome of discrimination, be it direct or indirect.

Madame Special Rapporteur, we share the conviction that the global problem of statelessness cannot be addressed if the underlying problems of racism and discrimination are not tackled. Beyond this report, how do you see your mandate contributing to the global multi-stakeholder campaign to eradicate statelessness?

I thank you.