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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Danish minister sacked for doing what EVERY Arab country does (updated)

From AFP:
Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen said Tuesday he fired his integration minister over a scandal involving 36 young, stateless Palestinians who were wrongly denied citizenship.

"Birthe Roenn Hornbech is leaving her post as integration minister and church minister and thus withdraws from the government," he said in a statement, prompting a small government reshuffle.
The integration ministry, he said, failed to brief parliament in a timely manner on "36 stateless persons being wrongly denied Danish citizenship."

Danish media had recently accused the minister of knowing since 2008 that Danish immigration authorities were not respecting a UN convention which stipulates that stateless people born and raised in a country have the right to obtain citizenship there before they turn 21, as long as they are not convicted of any serious crimes.

But 36 Palestinians who were eligible to obtain Danish citizenship had their requests turned down.
Every single Arab country (with the partial exception of Jordan*) explicitly denies citizenship to all Palestinian Arabs born in their countries, in opposition to that same UN convention, which is the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

It states in Article 7:
1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.

2. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless.
Every Arab state has signed, ratified or acceded to this Convention. Yet they all ignore it, purposefully keeping Palestinian Arab children stateless.

Where is the world outcry over this denial of the human rights of every Palestinian Arab child in an Arab country?

UPDATE: Apparently, the Convention that she was sacked over was the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, not the Rights of the Child. (h/t Guan)

Article 1:

1. A Contracting State shall grant its nationality to a person born in its territory who would otherwise be stateless. Such nationality shall be granted:

(a) at birth, by operation of law, or

(b) upon an application being lodged with the appropriate authority, by or on behalf of the person concerned, in the manner prescribed by the national law. Subject to the provisions of paragraph 2 of this article, no such application may be rejected.
It is stronger than the Convention on the Rights of the Child in that it explicitly says that the child has a right to the host country's nationality, something not said explicitly in the Rights of the Child and possibly the loophole that Arab countries use, saying that Palestinian Arab children have the rights to "Palestinian" citizenship.

The Reduction of Statelessness convention is not ratified by any Arab country, but it is ratified by Denmark.


Jordan has been tightening up its rules on citizenship for Palestinian Arabs whose families originated in the West Bank, but it has never accepted the concept of naturalizing those from Gaza.