According to reports, hundreds of thousands of Europeans, including many children, do not have citizenship of any of its countries. Statelessness is more prevalent amongst most excluded and poorest. Many European Roma (Gypsies) are victims of statelessness for no fault of theirs.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that the issue of statelessness in Europe should be urgently addressed and stateless in Europe needed to be protected from severe and continuous violation of their human rights.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, 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.
Leaders of various religions/denominations, including Pope, should also come forward and advocate on behalf of the stateless and highlight their plight as religions told us to help the helpless, Rajan Zed stated.
Zed further said that European countries should reach out to the vulnerable groups like Roma and make sure all birth registrations were done immediately and citizenship automatically granted at birth. They should carve out administrative procedures for all stateless persons to acquire nationality and follow directives of various international conventions on statelessness.
Instead of blaming “others” like parents, other countries, stateless themselves and history; European nations should urgently address statelessness and thus putting an end to the sufferings of those affected, Rajan Zed added.
According to Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks, “Statelessness is not disappearing with time, but being transmitted over generations”.
Although the stateless issue affected almost all the countries of Europe, but significant number of stateless persons are in successor states of former Yugoslavia, Italy, Ukraine, Russia, Estonia and Latvia; reports suggest.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says “statelessness refers to the condition of an individual who is not considered as a national by any state”.