Imagine if you did not have a country to call home. Imagine, not being able to legally get a job, marry, or own land. Forget about trying to travel. And if you had children, what legacy would you leave for them?
Statelessness impacts as many as 12 million people around the globe. Often, this under-recognized human right, the right to a nationality, can increase the risk of exploitation and abuse, including forced migration and trafficking in persons. Women and children are particularly vulnerable.
That's why the U.S. led resolution, along with Botswana, Colombia, Mexico, Iraq, Turkey, and Slovakia, passed at the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva today is so important. “The Right to a Nationality: Women and Children,” is a first for the HRC.
This resolution, addressed the issue of discriminatory nationality laws targeting women, which can lead to statelessness. In total, there were 49 co-sponsors supporting the resolution, with representation from every geographical region.
The resolution focused on the issues of protecting both a woman's and a child's right to a nationality, with the goal of reducing statelessness. The equal right to a nationality for women, including the ability to acquire and retain nationality and confer it on their children, reduces the likelihood that they will become stateless and vulnerable to serious harm.
While recognizing the right of each State to determine by law who its nationals are, the resolution urged States to refrain from enacting or maintaining discriminatory nationality legislation and to reform nationality laws that discriminate against women, consistent with Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In this regard, the United States recalls our own history of seeking to achieve equal nationality rights for women.
This resolution supports the Secretary's initiative to promote women's equal right to nationality, which emphasizes that women's rights are human rights.
This video tells the stories of those impacted.