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UNHCR engages MPs on status of stateless persons

January 27, 2016 

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in collaboration with other stakeholders in development, has engaged the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, chaired by Hon. Komba E.S. Boyah on the “statelessness” of people.

The one-day workshop, which was held at Committee Room One, Parliament Building, attracted Members of Parliament and other stakeholders in raising awareness on statelessness around the world.

In his opening remarks, the committee chair, on behalf of the leadership of Parliament, thanked and appreciated the organisers, noting that some ten million people around the world are affected by statelessness and seven hundred and fifty thousand are found in West Africa and basically, denied education, work and even sometimes medical facilities.

He said conflict of nationality has affected many people around the world and that in order to address this challenge, MPs should make laws to protect them.

Mohamed Usman Koroma, Programme Manager at NaCSA, briefed MPs on the objectives of the workshop, which he said were to create awareness on statelessness. He made a power-point presentation on the causes and consequences of statelessness, as did Anne Marie Sidique from the Internal Affairs Ministry.

Officer-in-charge at UNHCR, Ms. Moijama Siafa, defined statelessness as not having nationality anywhere. She said the 1954 convention relating to the status of stateless persons talks about the need for their protection.

She also mentioned the statelessness of refugees as in the 1951 convention.

The workshop resolved that proper legislation be put in place by lawmakers to address the issues of statelessness, and research be carried out to determine whether Sierra Leone has stateless people in the country.

Members of Parliament appreciated the one-day dialogue forum in raising awareness on statelessness and promised to work with MDAs in actualising the proposals of statelessness conventions for the country.

Screening of movies on statelessness in West Africa climaxed the one-day dialogue forum.

CREDIT: Department of Public Relations, Parliament of Sierra Leone

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