Saturday, September 24, 2011

UN Announces New Parties to Conventions on Statelessness

This report from the United Nations highlights the encouraging news that three new countries - Croatia, Nigeria, and the Philippines - have signed onto the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, two agreements that are rarely talked about, but which are essential to the recognition of the problem of statelessness, and to finding potential solutions to it at the international level.

What is somewhat discouraging, however, is that the number of current signatories is relatively small (40 and 68 countries respectively). And why is that? Do states fear that they don't have the resources to help the international community deal with the flow of stateless persons?

These new signatories seem to suggest otherwise, as Croatia, Nigeria, and the Philippines have not demonstrated extraordinary ability or influence. Perhaps their willingness to join with the more developed world in helping stateless persons will serve as a signal to other nations that they too can help - and that perhaps it is in their best interest - regardless of their international status. We'll have to wait and see, but for now let's appreciate the steps being taken by Croatia, Nigeria, and the Philippines to make the world a better place for those who lack the basic protection of citizenship.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Australian immigration policies

An interesting and disturbing report on changing Australian immigration policies.
"Australia's resumed push to swap asylum-seekers arriving by boat with refugees from Malaysia is the government's most recent policy response to an issue that has preoccupied officials and the public for years.

Under the so-called "Malaysia Solution", Australia would exchange the next 800 refugees to arrive by boat for 4,000 mostly Burmese, in Malaysia. On 31 August, the High Court ruled against it, declaring the proposal invalid, a decision welcomed by rights groups such as the Refugee Council of Australia." To read more, follow the link above.
Is this a viable solution? An ethical one? Should the U.S. adopt something similar with Canada?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Accepting Asylum Seekers from an Ally?

"I felt totally defenseless. Over there (in Chihuahua), the authorities provide no support," the former financial executive said, adding that she was "more afraid of Mexican authorities than of the organized crime groups." -Monica Hernandez

A woman, Monica Hernandez, the daughter-in-law of a slain Mexican activist, was recently granted political asylum In the US after fleeing to El Paso, Texas. From reading the article linked below, it is clear that Mrs. Hernandez certainly has a legitimate fear of persecution, and her grant of asylum on those grounds does not surprise me. What does is that she was fleeing from Mexico, and a US court recognized openly the failures of Mexican law enforcement to protect its citizens. Mexico is a strong US ally, and cooperation has been intensified lately in the form of millions in aid for the war on drugs. (See second article below) It is surprising to me to see the US acknowledge the fact that a major ally, and a major recipient of aid (law enforcment aid no less) is still unstable or dangerous enough to have its citizens, under certain circumstances, to qualify for asylum.

Read more:

A Life-Threatening Skin Condition

This article discusses how albinos in Africa often face the prospect of being murdered and cut to pieces by witch doctors, who think that albinos are imbued with special powers. This superstition has led to the death of hundreds of albinos throughout the continent. Two things I though interesting in this article: First, that Israel granted asylum on the basis of albinism, and secondly, that the non-albino parents were also granted asylum based solely on their child's risk of suffering violence. I'm unsure how US asylum law would apply to parents and children according if a similar situation occurred here.

I just thought it was an interesting situation and I am very glad that Israel did indeed grant this family asylum :)