Canada Makes Children Stateless

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The CCR Youth Network demands that Canada change the Citizenship Act so that no child of a Canadian citizen is stateless.

 

 

What do we mean by stateless person?

A stateless person is a person that no state recognizes as a citizen. Some refugees may be stateless but not all are.  Similarly, not all stateless people are refugees.

What the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child says about

statelessness:

Article 7

1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.

2. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless.

 

What this means:

Every child has the right to a nationality.  Governments who have signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child must protect this right, especially where the child would otherwise be stateless.

How does Canada make children stateless?

Canada’s Citizenship Act was changed in 2009, limiting Canadian citizenship to the first generation born to Canadian parents outside Canada. Although the government explained that this new law is to “protect the value of Canadian citizenship,” it actually has the effect of leaving some children stateless.

This happened to Chloé who was born in July 2009 in Belgium.  Her mother is Algerian and her father is Canadian. His father was born outside of Canada to a Canadian father. Chloé was not eligible for citizenship:

  • Under Belgian law
  • Under Algerian law
  • Or, because of the recent change, under Canadian law.  This is because her father is a Canadian born outside Canada to a Canadian parent.

So Chloé was stateless. She had no passport and could not travel outside Belgium.  She could not come to Canada to visit her Canadian grandmother.

Good news for Chloé – in late 2010, she mysteriously received her Canadian citizenship papers

Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as Chloé. There are 12 million stateless persons in the world, and now Canada is adding new stateless children to the number.

Click here for more information on Chloé’s case.  

What should the government do?

The CCR Youth Network demands that Canada change the Citizenship Act so that no child of a Canadian citizen is stateless.