Child statelessness needs attention before problem becomes "set in stone"

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Born stateless, this baby acquired nationality in 2008 in Bangladesh. Photo: UNHCR/G.M.B. Akash

The issue of child statelessness needs to be addressed before it leads to problems that could haunt young people for the rest of their lives.

That's according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres speaking at the launch of a report called "I am Here, I Belong: the Urgent Need to End Childhood Statelessness."

A stateless person is somebody who does not have an official nationality.

Daniel Dickinson has more details

The report by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reveals that across the world children with no nationality share similar feelings of discrimination, frustration and despair, feelings that can endure into adulthood.

Many of the dozens of young people in seven countries interviewed for the report said that being stateless had taken a serious psychological toll, describing themselves as “invisible,” “alien,” “living in a shadow,” “like a street dog” and “worthless.”

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said a lack of nationality can set in stone grave problems that will follow young people throughout their lives.

The UN says that a child is born stateless at least every 10 minutes somewhere in the world.

UNHCR is calling on more countries to support its campaign launched last November to end statelessness.

Duration: 55″

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