Calcutta Research Group, (25-30 November 2018)
Module E. Statelessness, International Conventions and the Need for New Initiatives
Coordinator: Professor Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury
Stateless people are those who are obliged to live without the protection of a state. As the world has been parcelled out into states, not to be a member of any one of them is a matter of serious concern. Nationality and citizenship are two words most commonly used to describe the same phenomenon – the legal bond of membership between an individual and a state. A loss of citizenship results in statelessness. While membership of a state is the norm, statelessness continues to be widespread and has not escaped the interest of the international community. Within the realm of public international law, rules have evolved in response to the problem of statelessness.
Statelessness most commonly affects refugees, although not all refugees are stateless, and not all stateless men, women and children are taken to be refugees. Refugee status entails the extra requirements that the refugee be outside his or her country of nationality (or country of habitual domicile if stateless), and is deserving of asylum based on a well-founded fear of persecution for categorised reasons which make him/her unwilling or unable to avail of the protection of that country. According to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees or the extended definitions in relevant regional instruments and under UNHCR’s international protection mandate, refugees may also, and frequently do, fall within Article 1(1) of 1954 convention. If a stateless person is simultaneously a refugee, he or she should be protected according to the higher standard which in most circumstances will be international refugee law, not least due to the protection from refoulement in Article 33 of the 1951 Convention.
Causes and Context of Statelessness in South Asia
Often statelessness emerges from succession of states or territorial reorganisations. But it also emerges from persecution of minorities and a state’s majoritarian bias, which lead states at times to expel citizens or inhabitants. Also, states in South Asia, being what is sometimes referred to as ‘kin states’, represent social and ethnic continuities across the borders and the cases selected below illustrate this. Although there are overlapping sources of statelessness in contemporary South Asia, experts have identified three salient facts while analysing the causes of statelessness in South Asia.
• Very few contiguous South Asian states have entirely normalised relations with each other, usually on account of disputes concerning borders and cross-border movements. The inherent and massive heterogeneity of South Asian states has frequently given rise to militant resistance— often with a secessionist agenda. The states have progressively tightened their citizenship criteria, thus creating growing pockets of statelessness at their cultural and geographical margins
• Decolonisation in South Asia has involved multiple territorial divisions and casting out minority groups/ claims. Two of the most tumultuous dissections of South Asia occurred for precisely these reasons— the Partition of India in 1947 and the secession of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971. It follows, then, that these nation-building experiments created the ideal conditions for inducing statelessness.
• The third aspect of statelessness in South Asia results from economic migration between states. The subcontinent in pre colonial times had retained fuzzy frontiers and maintained traditions of seasonal migration and permanent minority settlements. Since the advent of independent nation-states, however, leaders representing the majority have argued for the disenfranchisement of such groups, which appear to have closer ties to the national identity of a neighbouring state than to the identity of the states of their residence. Political centres have demanded migrants’ ‘repatriation,’ which has been refused by the neighbour states, leaving the group stateless.
Against this backdrop, this module seeks to find answers to the following questions (Participants are requested to make their presentations touching on any of these questions, or a combination of them, with reference to various cases of statelessness in the region.)
• How certain groups and communities are rendered stateless? While states often remain far from being ethnically homogeneous, are minorities living within them more vulnerable to statelessness than others?
• Does protracted refugee-hood eventually result in statelessness? Is the distinction between refugee-hood and statelessness increasingly wearing thin?
• Is the existing legal regime adequate to deal with the problem of statelessness? What has been the experience with case laws in different countries of South Asia and of other regions?
• Can judicial activism, as evident in some of the countries, particularly in recent years, serve as an effective guarantee?
• Does the varied nature of our experience call for changes in the existing municipal and international laws? Does this underline the necessity of framing regional laws relating to the stateless in different world regions? • Do policymakers need to think beyond legal terms? • Does all this call for activating and strengthening the civil society institutions?
Draft of Full Paper: CLICK HERE
|Sl.No.||Name & Details of the Participants||Country||Photo||Research Articles||Comments by Coordinator|
Abdul Kalam Azad, Independent Researcher ||
Erdogan H. Sima, University of Lapland ||
Jyotsna Srivastava, Banaras Hindu
Statelessness and Gendered Claim of States
M. Ibrahim Wani, Institute of Kashmir Studies,
University of Kashmir, Jammu & Kashmir || Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Roopshree Joshi, World Education ||
Shamna Thachampoyil, University of Delhi