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stateless to statehood

There are more than 200 sovereign states that govern the 6.7 billion people in the world. But large groups of people have fallen through the cracks of international law and lack many of the benefits of belonging to a nation-state. Our Stateless to Statehood project explores the relationship between individuals, ethnic groups and states -- from the 12 million people without any citizenship to the tens of millions yearning to form entirely new nations. The project focuses on three groups:

  • Citizens of nowhere - Every day, about 12 million people wake up as citizens of no nation at all. These men, women and children are scattered across six continents and excluded from virtually all the benefits of nationality -- a passport, the right to vote, land ownership, access to health care and legal employment. From Rohingyas in Myanmar to Nubians in Kenya and Haitians in the Dominican Republic, stateless individuals live without the protection and recognition of the government that rules the place where they live. On June 10, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the first-ever American legislation to recognize and reduce statelessness, which also addressed issues of global stability and security. The issue encompasses a tangle of nationalistic politics, ethnic discrimination and international human rights law.
  • Refugees are victims of violent conflict who are unable or unwilling to return to their country of nationality. Currently, 16 million people are recognized by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees as refugees or asylum seekers. Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghanis and Somalis are the largest refugee groups currently living outside their countries of origin. Their country of nationality cannot protect them, and they typically rely on international bodies to provide them with aid and sufficient livelihood.
  • State-seekers are groups striving for autonomy and national self-determination. They often view themselves as stateless peoples. Even though most of these groups have formal, legal ties to nation-states, they often seek to attain a state that will better serve their interests. While around 200 million people belong to groups seeking secession or greater autonomy, a small fraction are actively involved in these struggles. Kurds, Uyghurs, Tibetans and Basques are a few of the groups whose situations we explore.

"Stateless to Statehood" examines the root causes of statelessness in the post-colonial period, in the the aftermath of major wars and the break-up of empires. We're identifying potential ways to solve statelessness via legal and political avenues, as well as exploring the themes of nationalism and ethnic identity.

Stateless to Statehood

Webcast: Panel on Kashmir — listen now

Worldfocus Radio

Webcast: Panel on Kashmir — listen now

Worldfocus.org and anchor Martin Savidge host a webcast discussion on the people and history of Kashmir with a panel of guests.

Posted: December 9, 2008 17:12   Comments: 11
Q&A: Kashmiri people, history and human rights

Q&A: Kashmir

Q&A: Kashmiri people, history and human rights

Cultural Anthropologist Haley Duschinski has researched issues of the Kashmiri people for the past 10 years and answers your questions here.

Posted: December 8, 2008 18:24   Comments: 43
Understanding Kashmir through Texas

In the Newsroom

Understanding Kashmir through Texas

Worldfocus anchor Martin Savidge tries to use a historical U.S. metaphor to understand the origins of the conflict in Kashmir.

Posted: December 4, 2008 08:35   Comments: 11
China cancels EU summit meeting over Tibet

Video

China cancels EU summit meeting over Tibet

Robert Barnett of Columbia University discusses developments in Tibetan attitudes towards China and the Dalai Lama as well as prospects for Tibetan autonomy.

Posted: November 28, 2008 12:27   Comments: 2
Tibetan youth call for shift in strategy

Blogwatch

Tibetan youth call for shift in strategy

A group of exiled Tibetan leaders are partway through a week-long meeting in northern India to discuss new strategy in the struggle against Chinese rule.

Posted: November 21, 2008 15:45   Comments: 1
China’s tensions heighten with Muslim population

Perspectives

China’s tensions heighten with Muslim population

A Worldfocus contributing blogger writes about escalating tensions between the Chinese government and the autonomous Uighur population.

Posted: October 22, 2008 12:47   Comments: 1
Bihari refugees still stranded in Bangladesh slum

Perspectives

Bihari refugees still stranded in Bangladesh slum

A Worldfocus contributing blogger walks through a community of 300,000 Biharis. Almost 40 years after the war, they are stateless -- not recognized as citizens of Bangladesh or Pakistan.

Posted: October 10, 2008 16:45   Comments: 2
Is Northern Sudan the next Darfur?

Perspectives

Is Northern Sudan the next Darfur?

A Worldfocus contributing blogger calls attention to the forgotten region of Northern Sudan.

Posted: September 24, 2008 12:42   Comments: 6
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