Hindus, Jews urge world to ‘wake up’ on the plight of 15-mln stateless

Nevada (US), Sept 4: The Hindus and Jews have urged the world to wake up and improve the plight of about 15 million stateless people worldwide who suffer rejection day after day.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed and Jewish leader in North Carolina Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, in a statement in the USA on Saturday, said that the issue of statelessness should be urgently addressed and stateless populations around the world needed to be protected from severe and continuous violation of their human rights.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, and Rabbi Freirich, pointed out that access of stateless to health services, employment, education, property ownership and travel was severely restricted and they faced detention and inability to obtain identity papers. They were denied the most basic of rights and were vulnerable to trafficking.

They argued that universal birth registration procedures should be launched.

Many countries were still not part of the stateless treaties, they said and added that exclusionary policies, gender-discriminatory legislations, etc., which were at the root of many statelessness situations, should end.

Zed and Freirich stressed that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), national governments, aid and civil society organizations, etc., needed to put more efforts to highlight and improve the plight of this most invisible population of the world. Something needed to be emergently done for stateless Roma in Europe, Myanmar Rohingyas, Kenya Nubians, ethnic Russians in Latvia and Estonia, Syrian Kurds, Kuwait Bedoun, children in Sabah (Malaysia), Dominicans of Haitian descent, Ivory Coast immigrants, unconfirmed nationals in Nepal, and ethnic hill tribes of Thailand.

Leaders of various religions/denominations, including His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, should also come forward and advocate on behalf of stateless as religions told us to help the helpless, they stated.

UNHCR says “statelessness refers to the condition of an individual who is not considered as a national by any state”. Countries with most stateless populations include Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Syria, Iraq, Estonia and Kenya. (ANI)