Tuesday, March 02, 2010

New UNHRC session will talk about "right to nationality"

One of the documents supporting the 13th session of the Human Rights Council that started yesterday is A/HRC/13/34, Report of the Secretary-General on the right to nationality.

It includes this interesting paragraph:

Birth on the territory of a State and birth to a national are the most important criteria used to establish the legal bond of nationality. Particularly in the context of migration, a child may therefore have a link to more than one State. In cases where States have adopted diverging rules on the acquisition of nationality, a conflict of laws between these States could leave the child stateless. In such cases, the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness contributes to resolve this type of conflict of norms by providing, in article 1, that contracting States must grant nationality to a person born on their territory who would otherwise be stateless. Article 4 also provides that contracting States must grant nationality if a person is born to one of their nationals outside of a contracting State and would otherwise be stateless. According to article 7 of the Covenant on the Rights of the Child in Islam, State parties should make every effort to resolve the issue of statelessness for any child born on their territories or to any of their citizens outside their territory. Obligations to grant nationality to children born in the territory of a State and that would otherwise be stateless are also contained in article 20 (2) of the American Convention on Human Rights, article 6 (4) of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, and article 6 (2) of the European Convention on Nationality.
The UN has not been too successful in trying to push its agenda against statelessness but, given that Palestine is not and never has been a state, one can't help but notice the hypocrisy where the UN has never asked Arab nations to allow children of Palestinian descent born on their territory to become citizens.

The entire "Palestinian refugee" problem could be eliminated if the UN would just follow up on its own noble principles.