Statelessness in the Asia-Pacific Region

There are more than 15 million stateless people worldwide with the largest proportion, forty per cent, in the Asia-Pacific. Statelessness is prevalent in all countries in the region, with growing numbers of new vulnerable populations being denied citizenship and associated rights. Of particular concern has been the mass forced displacement of at least 1 million stateless Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh and almost 2 million people in the state of Assam, India being excluded from the updated National Register of Citizens in 2019.

Without a nationality, stateless people are denied their fundamental human rights, including access to education, health care and employment. Stateless people are also at heightened risk of human rights violations, including arbitrary and indefinite detention and exploitation (such as human trafficking), because they are often unable to prove their identity or links to a country, further entrenching marginalisation and vulnerability amongst stateless populations.

The COVID-19 global pandemic and associated non-inclusive state responses have exacerbated the marginalisation of stateless persons across the Asia-Pacific region. For example, stateless persons have largely been denied access to government supported COVID-19 relief measures and excluded from national vaccination rollout programs. Concurrently, hate speech and violence against stateless persons has increased with a rise in state-sponsored xenophobia during the global pandemic.

The main causes of statelessness in the Asia-Pacific region — being nationality laws, policies and practices that discriminate on the basis of gender, ethnicity, and religion — are challenges that can and must be addressed. NFA will work in strategic partnership with civil society actors to address both the impact and root causes of statelessness in the region, while supporting and promoting collaboration between all relevant actors – civil society actors (notably persons with lived experience), governmental actors and UN agencies. 

The Nationality for All team: Davina Wadley (Board Chair), Vivienne Chew, (Board Member),  Mitra Khakbaz (Board Member), Subin Mulmi (Executive Director), Hannah Gordon (Program Coordinator), and Madonna Palmer (Finance Coordinator).

Vision

That the rights of all people affected by statelessness in the Asia Pacific region are realised.

Mission

To promote the rights of all people affected by statelessness in the Asia Pacific — including the right to a nationality — through strategic and solution-based partnerships.

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