Stateless people are found all over the world, and the lack of any nationality deprives them of rights that many take for granted. Often they are denied a legal identity when they are born, access to education, healthcare, marriage and job opportunities; even a death certificate when they die.
Stateless Reduction & Community Sensitization Project (CSP)
The Community Sensitization Project is part of a global initiative spearheaded by UNHCR. UNHCR’s statelessness reduction strategy is based on the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness which was launched in November 2014 and primarily focuses on resolving the existing situation of statelessness in Thailand, ensuring no child is born stateless, issuing nationality documentation to those with entitlement to it and improving quantitative and qualitative data on stateless populations. Projects implemented in order to achieve these objectives are aiming at building capacity at the level of district and sub-district administrations; supporting the central administration in processing nationality applications; advocating for wider access to nationality, streamlined application procedures; and strengthening community support.
Needs assessments carried out by UNHCR from October 2014 to October 2015 revealed that in remote border areas in Thailand, access to the nationality application procedure is often compromised by the geographical distance of district administrations and the lack of awareness at community level. The assessment concluded that capacity building measures at the level of District Chiefs and their civil registration units are key in order to accelerate the processing of nationality applications and related civil status documentation. It is against this background that in September 2015 ADRA partnered with UNHCR to launch the Community Sensitization Pilot Project which aimed at assisting populations with a high prevalence of statelessness in applying for nationality, permanent residency, registering in the national civil registration system, completing birth registration procedures, and related processes in order to obtain the issuance of civil status documents. ADRA opened five Service Points in different schools in Mae Fah Luang District, where stateless students were able to obtain nationality related information and eventually lodge applications for birth registration, nationality, permanent residency and/or related civil status documentation.
Location: Mae Fa Luang & Mae Chan District, Chiang Rai Province
Donors: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Beneficiaries: 20 000
Duration: 01/01/2016 – 31/12/1016
The project aims at achieving the following objectives:
- Facilitate stateless people, who are eligible for applying for nationality, to access the nationality processes and be able to apply for nationality;
- Strengthen capacity and knowledge of relevant key stakeholders to be able to deal with stateless issues;
- Improve awareness among stateless and Thai communities on the importance of having nationality and birth registration.
According to the UNHCR, there are currently approximately 443,862 stateless persons in Thailand. Stateless people and people at risk of statelessness in Thailand have either never registered as Thai or lost their connection with former countries of origin due to legislative changes. Over a third of the world’s stateless are children and the stigma of statelessness could follow them for the rest of their lives, even past their deaths. If they have children of their own, this generation will also be stateless and the crisis perpetuated.
Through specialised activities the target students and the community members, who are the primary beneficiaries of this project, will have easy access to knowledge on nationality applications and services that ADRA provides. For the students at the 12 target schools, their applications will be facilitated and assisted. For those who finally receive nationality, lives will be totally changed. They will be entitled to all the rights pertaining to the nationality, such as higher education, access to medical care, freedom of travel, opportunities for jobs, etc. This will lead to an essential step for a brighter future. Community members will gain knowledge of nationality application as well as stateless prevention if they know the importance of obtaining relevant civil status documents, such as getting birth certificates when their babies are born. In many cases lack of birth certificates results in statelessness.