Stateless persons in Italy only have rights on paper

They are not citizens of any state and in our country the number is estimated at at least three thousand, but in many cases it is even difficult to register them, since the registration offices are “invisible” and there is no documentation about it : they are statelessor those born by birth or by a series of vicissitudes they are in limbo which gives access to all fundamental rights, e.g. Education, public health, social protection measures, employment.

But now there is an association that represents them, theunion (Italian Union of Stateless Persons), born of the will of four young people who directly experiencing statelessness and now they want to help those who live in this very difficult situation. Unia was presented in Rome in the foreign press room and is supported by participationa program sponsored by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) And rowdiness. Extraordinary godfather of the baptism of the new reality, the journalist of daily events Gad Lerner. Born in Beirut and immigrated to Italy as a child, he remained stateless for almost thirty years before obtaining Italian citizenship through his first marriage. ” I hope you will want to make me an honorary member of the association – he explained – for what I have experienced I can be considered an expert in this field and I put my experience at the disposal of this beautiful reality“.

Statelessness in Italy

Our country is, at least formally, at the forefront of the protection of stateless persons: in addition to having ratified the two international conventions on statelessness, is one of the few countries in the world to have a stateless status determination process in place. Due to lengthy bureaucratic procedures and legal regulations to obtain the citizenship among the most restrictive in Europe, Stateless people live for a long time in the same conditions as stateless people Italians without nationality and they are therefore forced to live like foreigners in their own country, having to pay for the renewal of a residence permit, with many doors closed in their face.

My only certainty – Told – is that I was born in Sanremo. The other information on my birth certificate, which I unfortunately discovered years later, was incorrect. When I was a few months old, my biological parents, whose nationality I don’t even know, left me and I was raised by an Italian couple. We were born to fill a void: regulation, representation, knowledge and above all, rights. The objective is to become a reference, particularly in the dialogue with the institutions“.

Because you were born or become stateless

But what are the causes of statelessness? In Italy and Europe it is often a condition a legacy of geopolitical events such as the dissolution of the former Soviet Union or the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, situations that laid the groundwork for the subsequent generational transmission of statelessness. Sometimes non-citizenship may depend instead discrimination implemented in some countries towards ethnic groups: for example Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh are stateless. Although they have lived in Myanmar for generations, they lost their citizenship due to a change in the law in 1982.

Without the fundamental right to citizenship, people born or left stateless find themselves in a devastating legal void. They do not have access to their basic human rights and cannot fully participate in society. Their lives are characterized by exclusion, deprivation and marginalization‘ he said recently Philip Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, spoke on the eighth anniversary of UNHCR’s #IBelong global campaign to end statelessness. Since the launch of the campaign, beyond 450,000 people obtained or confirmed citizenship, Twenty-one States have introduced procedures in their regulatory systems to identify stateless persons in their territory and facilitate their naturalization.

An exceptional stateless person

Some have become stateless voluntarily. Albert Einstein he lived five years of his life as a stateless person. In contrast to Germany’s militaristic drift, the most important physicist of the 20th century actually renounced his German citizenship. He remained “homeless” from 1896 to 1901, when he succeeded in obtaining Swiss nationality.

Stateless persons in Italy only have rights on paper – Romandie-guide