Baku, November 3, AZERTAC
Being born with no nationality can cause children irreparable harm, the United Nations said on Monday, estimating that a stateless child is born every 10 minutes, notably as a consequence of armed conflict, according to DNA.
"In the short time that children get to be children, statelessness can set in stone grave problems that will haunt them throughout their childhoods and sentence them to a life of discrimination, frustration and despair," UN refugee agency chief Antonio Guterres said in a new report. The UNHCR report highlights consequences such as children being deprived of medical care, education and future access to employment. "In countries hosting the 20 largest stateless populations, at least 70,000 stateless children are born each year" -- or one about every 10 minutes, said the UNHCR, which is aiming to eliminate statelessness by 2024.
The report, to be launched by Guterres at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday, notes that in 30 countries national documentation is required to access basic medical treatment, while in 20 countries stateless children cannot even be vaccinated. The problem is particularly severe among refugees affected by conflict, the report said. In Syria, children can acquire nationality only through their fathers, but the four-year civil war has forced more than four million people to flee the country and left 25% of refugee families fatherless.