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Ensuring the right to a nationality, more pressing than ever

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Children at a camp for displaced people in Nigeria receive birth certificates, an important document to proved their nationality. © UNHCR/Gabriel Adeyemo

Ensuring the right to a nationality and eradicating statelessness is more pressing than ever, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said on Monday, as it marked the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the 1961 UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

“New global challenges, such as COVID-19 and the effects of climate change, on top of persistent ones like rising forced displacement, showcase just how critical the right to a nationality is,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

“Having a nationality – and the protection of a government that nationality affords – can make a life-saving difference, even more so in times of crisis, whether it’s vaccination, evacuation or providing a social safety net that is needed”.

Falling between the cracks 

Stateless people can fall between the cracks in conflict and displacement situations because they lack the protection of any government, they don’t have proof of their legal identity, or both, the UN agency warned.

They can also risk being excluded from accessing COVID-19 vaccinations are unlikely to be included in countries socio-economic relief packages intended to lessen the pandemic’s impact on livelihoods.

Moreover, as climate change worsens, stateless people risk being excluded from government efforts to mitigate the effects of extreme weather events, the agency added. More broadly, being stateless can mean having no access to education, medical care or legal employment.

Statelessness can hinder freedom of movement, the ability to buy property, vote, open a bank account or even get married. 

More than 4 million affected

Globally, 4.2 million people are known to be stateless. However, the UNHCR estimates that the true number of persons not recognized as citizens by any country is likely to be much higher, given gaps in data collection.

On the anniversary of the 1961 Convention the Agency is reminding all States that applying the treaty would help ensure that no child is born without a nationality and ultimately support the eradication of statelessness over time.

As of the end of August 2021, 77 States have joined the 1961 Convention, with increasing numbers signing up over the last decade.

Since 2010, 40 States have formalized their commitment to reduce statelessness by becoming parties, most recently Iceland and Togo. In the same period, more than 800,000 stateless people are known to have had their nationality confirmed and statelessness resolved. 

Ending statelessness

Accession to the 1961 Convention is one of the 10 actions of the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness. The Plan provides a framework for States to achieve the goals of the #IBelong Campaign, which was launched by UNHCR and partners in 2014 to end statelessness within 10 years.

“In this anniversary year, UNHCR is urging all States that have not already done so, to join the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, to incorporate the safeguards of the Convention into their nationality laws, and to guarantee every person’s right to a nationality,” Mr Grandi said.

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The importance of Iran’s membership in the SCO

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The members of Majlis (the Parliament) have approved the emergency of the plan of Iran’s commitments to achieve the position of a member state in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), – informs IRNA from Tehran.

The  emergency plan was endorsed with 161 votes in favor, two against, and three abstentions.

Ali Adyani, the deputy vice president for parliamentary affairs, said that the plan was proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was endorsed by the cabinet members, and sent to parliament to become law.

According to the official, Iran’s membership in the SCO is of great importance in terms of economic, social, and international affairs particularly because the opportunity would help the Islamic Republic get rid of illegal sanctions and enhance economic diplomacy.

Iran has been an observer of the SCO since 2005. Then, President Ebrahim Raisi called for full membership of the Islamic country in the organization in its last summer summit in Tajikistan.

The legislators have accepted to speed up scrutinizing the plan. Earlier, the Iranian parliament had endorsed the plan of accession of the Islamic Republic to the SCO.

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Sabah: ‘The Americans have deceived themselves, the Europeans and Ukraine’

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The US is repeating the same mistakes as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Now – in Ukraine. So it seems inevitable that Washington will face another setback as a result of its ideological obsession, – writes prominent Turkish observer Bercan Tutar at “Sabah” newspaper.

Having suffered a complete failure in the Middle East wars, the Americans sent to Ukraine not only their ineffective weapons, but also their inadequate thoughts and strategies. But no matter what they do, their chances of defeating Russia are very slim.

The 330th day of the war, which began on February 24, 2022, has already been completed. After a short retreat, Russia began redeployment. However, the fact that Russia abandoned the siege of Kyiv and focused on control over Russian-speaking regions led Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky and the United States to false conclusions.

Encouraged by Russia’s cautious military actions, the United States applied its strategy in the war on terrorism in Ukraine and. According to American experts, the current US administration is following the deadly tracks of previous military propaganda in Ukraine, which proved unsuccessful in Afghanistan and Iraq.

While Russia is pursuing a military strategy that prioritizes its political goals, we see that the US is lacking in both military and political leadership. As soon as the war in Ukraine began, the first goal of the US was to rally its NATO allies against the Russian invasion. It was a smart strategy and it worked.

However, when the US reached the first target, a further one only increased its expectations. Russia was asked to leave not only Donetsk and Lugansk (Donbass), but also Crimea. Even further, the United States began to voice maximalist demands, such as regime change in Moscow. But it is absolutely clear that these demands can arise only in conditions of a total world war.

As a result, American fantasies lead Washington to attempt strategic suicide. The Americans have deceived themselves, the Europeans and Ukraine.

Russian leader Putin said on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the breaking of the blockade of Leningrad: “We tolerated it for a long time and tried to come to an agreement. As it has recently turned out, they were messing around with us; they were lying to us. This was not the first time this has happened to us. Yet we did everything in our power to settle the problem peacefully. It has become obvious now that it was an inherently impossible mission; the enemy was only preparing to bring this conflict to the hot phase. As I have said, there was no other way than to do what we are doing now.”

In short, some geopolitical officials in the US have dragged Zelensky into a ‘no-win war’ against a nuclear-armed Russia.

Now the world is focused on two options:

– either the US and its allies will perform a ‘miracle’ in Ukraine;

– or the Russians will crush Ukraine and then break the back of the NATO alliance.

Thus, the US strategic position in Europe will come to an end and a new world order will be born, perhaps with several centers of power outside of America.

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War games will take place off Durban between South Africa, China and Russia

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South Africa’s government has finally shown its colours by inviting Russia and China for war games next month, London’s ‘Daily Mail’ writes with indignation and indignation.

SA President Cyril Ramaphosa has ditched his supposed ‘neutrality’ to the war by hosting the naval drills off the country’s east coast near Durban and Richards Bay from February 17 to 27. The move is the strongest indication yet of the strengthening relationship between South Africa, and the anti-West authoritarian regimes of China and Russia.

The drills will take place around the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and bring more focus on the refusal of South Africa – a leading voice on its continent – to side with the West and condemn Russia’s actions. The South African government said last year it had adopted a neutral stance over Ukraine and called for dialogue and diplomacy.

But the upcoming naval drills have led the country’s main opposition party to accuse the government of effectively siding with Russia.

But the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), which incorporates all of its armed forces, said next month’s naval exercise would ‘strengthen the already flourishing relations between South Africa, Russia and China’. The aim of the drills was ‘sharing operational skills and knowledge’, the SANDF said.

The three countries also conducted a similar naval exercise in 2019 in Cape Town, while Russia and China held joint naval drills in the East China Sea last month.

The United States and European Union had hoped South Africa would support the international condemnation of Russia and act as a leader for other nations in Africa. But, South Africa appealed to be one of several African countries to ‘abstain’ in a United Nations vote last year condemning Russia’s special military operation.

South Africa and Russia share a long history, after the Soviet Union gave support to the ANC in its fight to bring down apartheid, the regime of repression against the country’s black majority, writes London newspaper. (And we should remember, how the British destroyed the Boers’ Transvaal and the Orange Republic of the at the beginning of the 20th century, and planted the apartheid regime here).

Apartheid ended in 1994 when the ANC won the first democratic elections in South Africa and Nelson Mandela became president.

South Africa is also a member of BRICS, a bloc of emerging economies, alongside Brazil, Russia, India and China.

South Africa’s obligations with respect to sanctions relate only to those that are specifically adopted by the United Nations. Currently, there are no UN-imposed sanctions on the particular individual, they say in Pretoria.

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