COTE D'IVOIRE / ORPHAN STATELESS

09-Apr-2019 00:03:21
Seventeen-year-old Françoise and Christelle grew up together in an orphanage in northern Côte d’Ivoire, with no paperwork to prove their citizenship and no family to vouch for them. But a legal ruling, which follows years of campaigning by UNHCR and rights groups, is finally giving them an official identity, and a future. UNHCR
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STORY: COTE D'IVOIRE / ORPHAN STATELESS
TRT: 3:21
SOURCE: UNHCR
RESTRICTION: PLEASE CREDIT UNHCR ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / FRENCH / NATS

DATELINE: 19-21 FEBRUARY 2019, KORHOGO, COTE D'IVOIRE
SHOTLIST
1.Various shots, Christelle Karidja Camara and Françoise Yeo Pandjawa preparing breakfast in the kitchen from the orphanage “The Nest under the
2.Various shots, Françoise and Christelle having breakfast
3.Various shots, Christelle serving milk and chatting with the kids
4. SOUNDBITE (French) Christelle, 17-year-old orphan:
“We take care of our little brothers; we wash them, feed them. If they need to go to school, they do, otherwise we animate them. We clean and shop. And we have fun.”
5. Various shots, Françoise and Christelle studying
6. Various shots, Corridor from the orphanage with kids
7. Various shots, kids om the orphanage
8. Various shots, girls with Emmanuel Walker
9. SOUNDBITE (French) Michel Emmanuel Walker, guardian
“In Côte d’Ivoire at least one parent has to be Ivorian. If you can’t prove the nationality of at least one parent, you become stateless – even if you are of Ivorian origin. It’s frustrating.”
10. Various shots, inside Sous-Préfecture Korogho the girls with his guardian waiting for documents
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Layse Farias, Associate Protection Officer, UN Refugees Agency (UNHCR):
“This creates a legal identity for these children. Now they will be able to go on with every civil act of their lives, including marriage, finishing their studies until university, finding a formal job. Not only that, for them also means to be attached to a country.”
12.. Various shots, Christelle and Françoise getting documents
13. Various shots, Françoise and Christelle showing their provisional documents
14. Wide shot, Françoise and Christelle walking in the Korogho Market
15. Various shots, Françoise and Christelle and kids
STORYLINE
Seventeen-year-old Françoise and Christelle grew up together in an orphanage in northern Côte d’Ivoire, with no paperwork to prove their citizenship and no family to vouch for them. But a legal ruling, which follows years of campaigning by UNHCR and rights groups, is finally giving them an official identity, and a future.

Both of their mothers died in childbirth and their fathers refused to legally recognize them. Shunned by family, they had no documents to prove their nationality.

At the Nest orphanage, they are helping taking care of other stateless children.

SOUNDBITE (French) Christelle, 17-year-old orphan:
“We take care of our little brothers; we wash them, feed them. If they need to go to school, they do, otherwise we animate them. We clean and shop. And we have fun.”

UNHCR is working with Ivorian authorities to help thousands trapped in legal limbo and to remake the future.

Their guardian, Michel, also grew up in the Nest orphanage and he is still stateless.

SOUNDBITE (French) Michel Emmanuel Walker, guardian
“In Côte d’Ivoire at least one parent has to be Ivorian. If you can’t prove the nationality of at least one parent, you become stateless – even if you are of Ivorian origin. It’s frustrating.”

A landmark court decision last year affirmed the girls’ right to citizenship. They received crucial documents certificates that prove their nationality and mean so much more.

SOUNDBITE (English) Layse Farias, Associate Protection Officer, UN Refugees Agency (UNHCR):
“This creates a legal identity for these children. Now they will be able to go on with every civil act of their lives, including marriage, finishing their studies until university, finding a formal job. Not only that, for them also means to be attached to a country.”

In May 2017, West Africa became the first region in the world to develop a binding regional action plan (Banjul Plan of Action), through which ECOWAS Member States committed to eradicating statelessness. In this context, member states have also engaged in supporting the Africa Union Draft Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Specific Aspects of the Right to a Nationality and the Eradication of Statelessness in Africa, adopted in 2018.

With six years left to eradicate statelessness, gains have been made in Côte d’Ivoire, particularly thanks to three historic court decisions concerning foundlings – children found abandoned in the country but who have no family to establish their Ivorian roots. Those decisions granted nationality to 11 children, including Françoise and Christelle, who received their citizenship certificates following a judge’s ruling in October 2018.

Yet, Côte d’Ivoire has hundreds of thousands of people at risk of statelessness. A new law that establishes a special procedure for late birth registration, re-establishment of identity documents and transcription of acts of birth should help many of them. by providing access to civil registration and Ivorian nationality.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, works with the Ivorian NGO Association of Women Jurists in campaigning for legal reforms and changes to administrative procedures to help those at risk of statelessness.
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