TAKING SUFFERING SERIOUSLY: A ROBUST APPROACH TO ENFORCING THE RIGHT TO NATIONALITY OF STATELESS PEOPLE
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This thesis interrogates the continued statelessness of more than 12 million stateless people around the world, in the face of Article 15 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which provides that everyone has a right to a nationality. Its principal argument is that the continued unresolved presence of stateless groups around the world exposes international law’s inadequate protection of the ‘right to a nationality’. It advocates the adoption of a robust approach to protect and enforce this right to nationality of stateless people. Article 15 of the UDHR has been complemented by a host of international and regional instruments relating to the right to nationality. In developing its argument, the thesis reviews the relevant instruments, as well as local and international judicial decisions relating to the right. The review is juxtaposed with local legislation and state practices on the issue of citizenship, for the purpose of determining the status of the right, and whether the right forms part of customary international law. This thesis also examines the emergence of nationality as a human right under international law and the interplay between states sovereignty and the right to nationality, for the purpose of showing the lacuna in international law that allows continued statelessness. It examines the relationship between the possession of nationality and the enjoyment of other human rights vis-à-vis the sufferings that arise from statelessness, as well as the extent to which denationalization is a step toward genocide, for the purpose of showing that protection of the right qualifies as erga omnes obligation. It also argues that suffering of stateless people must be taken seriously, as a step toward taking the right to nationality of stateless people seriously. While the thesis does not necessarily provide the final solution to all the problems arising out of statelessness, it is anticipated that it will make a worthy contribution to addressing the legal questions on statelessness and, more importantly, provide a sound basis for further discussions on the status, importance and the need to protect and enforce the right to nationality of stateless people.
DegreeMaster of Laws (LL.M.)
CommitteeNEWMAN, DWIGHT; NORMAN, KEN
Copyright DateDecember 2013
right to nationality
international human rights law