The Peter McMullin Centre for Statelessness is inviting applications for its Statelessness Intensive Course 2022, to be held online in February 2022.
Over the last three years, the Peter McMullin Centre’s Statelessness Intensive Course has established itself in the statelessness studies calendar as a world-class program, offering an invaluable learning experience for a diverse cohort of participants from all over the world.
Suitable for a wide range of participants, this multidisciplinary course provides participants with the skills and practical tools to understand and address the problem of statelessness. Focusing on case studies from the Asia Pacific region, where the issue of statelessness is particularly salient, the course covers such issues as:
- the meaning of nationality in international law
- the core international treaties relevant to statelessness
- the right to nationality and deprivation of nationality
- the intersection between refugeehood and statelessness
- statelessness determination frameworks
- the nexus between statelessness, minorities, discrimination and development
- childhood statelessness
- the relationship between statelessness and gender discrimination
- identity, birth registration and the prevention of statelessness
The online format comprises daily Zoom sessions (four hours each day), along with three hours of flexible learning per day, and accommodates multiple time zones as much as possible.
Course dates: Wed 16th – Tue 22nd February 2022 (excl. weekend)
Deadline for applications: 30 September 2021
For further details on the course and registration process, see the Centre’s page here.
We, at Parichay, have launched a monthly newsletter to give you updates on citizenship in India and the globe, and highlight some exciting new work that we have been doing. Click here to subscribe!
Updates from Parichay
- In a provocative essay on the blog, Nivedita Menon, implores us to recognize the feminist issues which lie at the heart of any citizenship discourse. More specifically, in Menon’s words, the essay concerns itself with four questions:
“First, are citizenship and citizenship rights unambiguously empowering? Second, why is citizenship a feminist issue? Third, should we not cast citizenship rights within the frame of place of work, rather than place of birth? Fourth, what about the place of the non-human in a just and ecologically aligned society?”
- Leah Verghese and Shruthi Naik by analysing 818 orders passed by Foreigners Tribunal No. 4 in Hajo between 16 June 2017 and 30 December 2019, explore the process of adjudication of citizenship in Assam, “in terms of fairness, procedural aspects, and time taken through an analysis of these orders“ and highlight the flawed citizenship process which haunt Assam.
- On 28th May, the Central Government issued a notification which empowered the Collectors in certain districts of Gujarat, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab, to operate under Sections 5 and 6 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and grant citizenship to the minority communities (Hindus, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists) from Afghanistan, Pakistan or Bangladesh. Darshana Mitra and Rupali Francesca Samuel have prepared a brief on the order which sets out the contents of the May 2021 order, and its relation, if any, to the CAA 2019.
Developments in India
- In a moving article, Mohammad Iqbal, informs us about the Kafkaesque nightmare which haunts Pakistani Hindus in India – a process which engulfs statelessness and renders lives precarious. Unsurprisingly then, various refugees were seen demanding an expedited Citizenship Process, on the World Refugees Day.
- In Thamarai v. Union of India, the Madras High Court recently dismissed a plea moved against the deportation of a Sri Lankan national. The Court by suggesting that the law in Maneka Gandhi case cannot be stretched beyond a point, held that:
“[He] does not have a fundamental right to stay in India and get Indian citizenship. He knows that his stay in India cannot be eternal. He has to leave India one day or the other”
- Suggesting that India and the UNHCR failed to provide healthcare and vaccination for Chin refugees, Kimi Colney in a compelling piece, offers insight into the varying forms of violence which are perpetuated against vulnerable groups.
- Observing the importance of citizenship for a person, the Gauhati High Court recently held that “citizenship being a very important right of a person should ordinarily be decided on merit rather than by default”
Across Borders: Conversations on Citizenship
- Recently, Germany has passed a new citizenship law for descendants of Nazi Victims – the law makes it easier for descendants of those who fled Nazi persecution to obtain citizenship. Subsequently, if people have been stripped of their citizenship on political, racial or religious grounds can have it restored, and so can their descendants.
- The Bahamas Court of Appeal upheld a historic Supreme Court ruling that children born out of wedlock to foreign women and Bahamian men are entitled to citizenship at birth.
- Dahlia Scheindlin, informs us of the cruelty which lies at the heart of Israel’s Citizenship Law – a cruelty which for Scheindlin, remains rooted in racist foundations, and arguably, provides a key insight to the violent politics which haunts Israel.
What have we been reading?
- Articulating a moment in history wherein we are witnessing the “death of asylum itself”, Alison Mountz‘s recent work, maps out the role of spaces and geographies in allowing the sovereign to place lives in precarious and vulnerable zones. In suggesting that detention spaces are often ‘a global constellation of sites and places where people and places are exploited to carry out exclusion’, Mountz complicates traditional theoretical debates surrounding ‘states of exception’ by highlighting their incomplete-ness. Despite the ominous realisations, Mountz argues that ‘they [activists, migrants, NGOs, etc] are countering the death of asylum with the life of activism’ – a life which we hope to emulate in spaces near us.
We look forward to bringing you more updates next month! Until then, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org for comments or feedback. Subscribe here.
On May 28, 2021, the Ministry of Home Affairs passed an order under Section 16 of the Citizenship Act, 1955 which empowers the Central Government to delegate powers under the Act. However, exceeding mere delegation, this o rder created a specific procedure for naturalisation and registration for citizenship in respect of applicants from ‘minority communities’ in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, namely Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists, resident in specified districts in five states. This order was immediately challenged by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) in an interlocutory application that they filed in an earlier writ petition challenging the constitutionality of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. IUML’s primary objection was that this order seeks to implement the CAA 2019 in a roundabout fashion, even while the constitutionality challenge is under examination by the Supreme Court. The Union Government in its reply stated that the notification had nothing to do with the CAA, and merely allows for delegation of powers of registration and naturalisation under certain specific circumstances, to a class of ‘legal’ migrants. As on date, two other writ petitioners who challenged the CAA, have filed applications also challenging this order.
At Parichay, we have prepared a detailed brief on the May 2021 order. This brief sets out the contents of the May 2021 order, and its relation, if any, to the CAA 2019. To summarise, this brief argues the following:
- The CAA, 2019 exempts persons belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Jain, Parsi or Buddhist communities from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh from falling within the definition of “illegal migrant” in Section 2(1)(b) of the Citizenship Act, 1955. We argue that this amended definition now allows even those without valid documents to apply for citizenship under the procedure laid down under May 2021 notification. However, this benefit is not available to similarly situated Muslim applicants.
- The May 2021 order significantly truncates the procedure for registration and naturalisation of citizens under Sections 5 and 6 of the Citizenship Act, but denies similarly situated Muslim applicants this benefit.
- The May 2021 order implements the amendment to the Third Schedule of the Citizenship Act, 1955 brought into force by the CAA, 2019. This amendment reduced the residency requirement for naturalisation under Section 6 from 11 years to 5 years for Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Jain, Parsi or Buddhist communities per se (without any requirement of claiming religious persecution) who come from Afghanistan, Pakistan or Bangladesh.
- The May 2021 order creates a distinction between applicants of Indian origin for the purposes of registration under Section 5, by retaining what is admittedly an onerous and difficult process of citizenship registration for Muslims of Indian origin, while easing the process for Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Christians, Buddhists and Parsis of Indian origin.
Most importantly, if the May 2021 order is purportedly in the interests of refugee protection, then it is time to consider the adoption of a non-discriminatory and inclusive refugee policy in consonance with India’s constitutional values.