Abandoned by the world

Al Jazeera looks at the plight of stateless people.

Stateless people often have minimal, if any, access to basic rights

Everyone has the right to a nationality, according to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But it is estimated that more than 11 million people in over 70 countries can be classed as “stateless”.

The UN defines a stateless person as someone who is not a national of any state under its laws. That means they have no citizenship, no passport, and are without recourse to representation by a nation or government.

Most are not classed as refugees and cannot claim asylum because they are not fleeing persecution or have never even left their long-term homes.

Stateless people experience many of the same economic and social disadvantages as slaves in the ancient world. They often have minimal, if any, access to basic rights such as education and healthcare.

Al Jazeera looks at the plight of stateless peoples around the world.


Hill tribes caught without a country
One of Thailand’s biggest tourist attractions, nearly one million hill tribes people are treated like illegal immigrants. They are denied equal access to schooling and medical care.



Stranded in Bangladesh
A quarter of a million Biharis live rejected by both the Bangladeshi and Pakistani governments. Packed into overcrowded camps, poor sanitation and shortage of running water are daily realities.



Decades in limbo in Lebanon
Nearly six decades after the creation of Israel, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians still live as refugees. The most vulnerable group are so called non-ID refugees, not registered by either the UN or Lebanese authorities.



Palestinians unwelcome in Canada
Between 200-300 stateless Palestinians are estimated to be living in Canada. At least 100 of those have already had their requests for asylum turned down and have or will be deported back to Lebanon’s refugee camps.



Kurdish dreams of independence
There are about 25 million Kurds, spread across areas of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Promised, but never granted, their own country after World War I, they are spread across areas of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.



Europe’s Roma outsiders
The Romany gypsys, or Roma, have always been stateless because of their nomadic lifestyle. Estimates suggest up to 8.5 million people across Europe belong to the Roma. They have faced persecution for 500 years.



Kenya’s Nubians fight for their rights
There are more than 100,000 Nubians in Kenya. They have no voting rights and cannot purchase land, or serve in the army or police force. Youssouf Abdallah speaks to Al Jazeera about his people’s struggle for recognition.


Photographing the ‘nowhere people’
Greg Constantine is a professional photographer who has devoted his life to documenting struggling communities. His latest project is called “Nowhere People”. Watch his story in his own words.

Source: Al Jazeera

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