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The Right to a Nationality (2-37)

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Articles 7 and 8 on the Convention on the Rights of the Child take up the question of identity. Several aspects are concerned, such as the birth of a child, his name, his family, his language, ethnic affiliation, etc. In fact, each of these characteristics merit reflection, and as such, a specific report.

What does the Convention on the Rights of the Child have to say?

Article 7: Name and Nationality

The right to a name from birth and the right to a nationality.

Article 8: Protection of identity

The obligation of the State to protect, and in the absence thereof, to reestablish the fundamental aspects of the identity of a child (name, nationality, family relations)
Nationality is as such an integral part of the identity of each human being that we must certainly ask why millions of people are deprived of a nationality. What are the causes ? What are the consequences ? In order to provide a concrete answer, let's try to understand the situation of someone without a nationality. First of all, what are they called ?

It is a stateless person, in other words, a person not recognized by any country as one of its citizens.

Nationality is an important part of one's identity

There are numerous reasons that explain why one may not be in possession of a nationality or have lost a nationality, among them are war, including the notable and tragic example of the conflicts on African soil which continue to displace millions, thereby preventing the registry of birth, marriages and deaths and as such, the procurement of a nationality for many.

Geopolitical upheavals such as the dissolution of the former USSR are other real causes. By splintering into several countries, this former empire created numerous stateless persons given that they were no longer Soviets this country no longer existed and the new states did not recognize them as citizens. This phenomenon was reproduced almost identically in the wake of the dissolution of Yugoslavia.

Other situations, apparently less dramatic in nature, can produce the same effects for their victims, such as nomadism. Traditionally, peoples spent their lives moving around on immense territories covering different states, without possessing the nationality of any of them. For centuries, this situation caused them no problem but in our modern world, with its requirements concerning security and control, and in a world in which this way of life has become much more difficult, these persons find themselves de facto excluded/marginalized as they are unable to traverse national boundaries without formal identification.

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