Stateless People Largely Ignored by the International Community
Stateless people are defined as people without citizenship or a legal nationality. Political changes, discrimination, expulsion or a number of other reasons explain their status.
The author of the new report, Maureen Lynch, on what means to be stateless.
Maureen Lynch: It can mean not being able to vote, it might be meaning things like no access to healthcare, no access to even the most basic of education.
Ms. Lynch says these people continue to be largely ignored by the international community. In fact, she says the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has only two staffers devoted to the issue.
The report paid special attention to the Bedouin in the United Arab Emirates, the Roma in Europe and a group of people called the Bihari in Bangladesh. The Bihari were stripped of their citizenship after Bangladesh became a nation.
Maureen Lynch: Both Pakistan and Bangladesh have refused to offer the Bihari citizenship pretty much on the basis of political reasons. Pakistan, for example, might say that it would affect the balance the ethno-geographical balance in our country. Bangladesh might say, ‘these individuals actually sided with Pakistan when we became independent and we're still reluctant to have these individuals as citizens’.
More than 250,000 Biharis have spent the last three decades living in squalid camps throughout Bangladesh. Ms. Lynch hopes this report will help raise awareness of the problems facing the Bihari and other stateless people throughout the world.
Brian Purchia, VOA news, Washington.
expulsion [iks5pQlFEn] n. 逐出，开除
Bedouin [5beduin] n. 贝多因人(一个居无定所的阿拉伯游牧民族)
Bangladesh [7bB:N^lE5deF] 孟加拉国
squalid [5skwClid] adj. 肮脏的
camp [kAmp] n. 露营地，阵营