Cape Town South Africa Nov 27, 2015: Chairing the session of the joint UN and Inter Parliamentary (IPU) conference in Cape Town in South Africa on the second day today Senator Farhatullah Babar said that statelessness of children was a ‘monstrous atrocity’ that must be addressed by the parliaments of the member countries expeditiously.
PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar and PTI Senator John Kenneth Williams represented the Pakistan Parliament at the conference on statelessness that was attended by parliamentarians of more than one hundred countries from across the globe.
Senator Farhatullah Babar was nominated to chair the session on stateless children today.
The two day Conference discussed several issues ranging from assessing the Situation of Statelessness, Gender Discrimination in nationality laws that contributed to statelessness, Global Legal framework to address statelessness and to Ensuring that No Child was born as
Farhatullah Babar said that Pakistan was host of several million Afghan refugees for the past several decades and the birth of children to Afghan refugees during this period coupled with the possibility of absence of documentation in their own country may have rendered many of them as stateless as defined by the UN and called for a formal study collect reliable data on statelessness for addressing the issues.
He said that a stateless child was exposed to most serious human rights violations as he had no right to access other rights and were also most vulnerable to exploitation by crimes syndicates and violent militant groups. He said if a study was carried out to investigate the relationship between statelessness and violent extremism it might improve insight into terrorism issues.
Senator John Williams said that UN Conventions of 1954 and 1961 provided a useful legal framework for addressing the issue however there was also a need to examine the statelessness in different countries from the perspective of their local conditions.
About the gender discrimination in nationality laws senator Farhatullah Babar said that in Pakistan the gender bias in the citizenship law was removed in 2000 when the word ‘father’ was substituted with the word ‘parent’ thereby allowing the mothers also to transfer nationality rights to their children.
He said that the UN-IPU Conference should move beyond the present narrative that the parliament had the powers and authority to end statelessness and adopt a new slogan “Parliaments and parliamentarians have a RESPONSIBILITY to end statelessness”.