NEW YORK: Desmond Tutu and Angelina Jolie will jointly a campaign under United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to highlight the “devastating lifelong consequences of statelessness” for more than 10 million people. The campaign hopes to end the problem in a decade.
The United Nations pledged to eradicate statelessness within a decade under the name “I Belong.”
The campaign has enlisted the actress Angelina Jolie, the Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, the author Khaled Hosseini and other notables to sign an open lettter calling for “10 million signatures to change 10 million lives.”
“Every 10 minutes a new stateless person is born,” UN refugee chief Antonio Guterres said Tuesday. “Statelessness makes people feel like their very existence is a crime,” Guterres added.
People can become stateless for a range of reasons, including discrimination based on ethnicity, religion or gender, the disintegration of nations, and conflict. More than 600,000 people have remained stateless since the Soviet Union broke apart in the 1990s. Continuing conflicts have also made births difficult to register, especially among refugees.
According to officials, the UNHCR has already made some progress toward resolving the issue, with more than 4 million stateless people gaining a nationality in the past decade, thanks to legislative and policy changes.