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Rights Review

The International Human Rights Program (IHRP) at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law (Photo credit: Pavan Setty)

STOPPING STATELESSNESS: CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF STATELESSNESS IN WEST AFRICA Catherine Thomas, 3L UN High Commissioner for Refugees (Senegal) As Ebola continues to spread, the world has fixed its gaze on West Africa. Images of the sick and dying, and reports on dramatic evacuations of foreigners dominate the media. Coverage of the outbreak has helped mobilize local governments and the international community to combat this horrific disease. Another critical situation facing West Africa that urgently needs to be addressed is the issue of statelessness, a denial of a fundamental human right that too often goes unnoticed. I spent three months this summer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Statelessness Unit in Dakar, Senegal, addressing this issue faced particularly by the fifteen countries constituting West Africa. The UNHCR estimates that this region is home to 700,000 stateless persons, with many more at high risk of statelessness. Nationality is the legal bond between a state and an individual, and statelessness refers to the condition of an individual who is not considered a national by any state. Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to a nationality; consequently, all people have the right to the protection that this legal bond represents. Statelessness itself is thus the violation of a fundamental human right. (Continued on page 8)


THIS ISSUE Migrants pg 5 Expression pg 10 Health pg 14 Non-Discrimination pg 18 International Justice pg 20

Pictured above: Daily life in a middle class suburb of Dakar, Senegal

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Rights Review 2014 Intern Edition  

Rights Review 2014 Intern Edition  

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