Treatment of Women Unequally, Risks Statelessness in 26 Countries

According to a U.N. Refugee Agency press release, there are 26 countries that do not allow women to confer their nationality on their children. This discrimination can leave children stateless.

“Most of the states that deny mothers the right to confer nationality are found in the
Middle East and North Africa (twelve states) and Sub-Saharan Africa (nine states),
with the remainder in Asia (four states) and the Americas (two states),” according to the press release.

Up to 12 million people around the world are stateless and up to half of them are children.

Some countries have pledged to eradicate the gender inequality in citizenship laws.

“Reform has been undertaken in recent years in Sri Lanka, Egypt, Iraq, Algeria, Indonesia, Morocco, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tunisia, and Monaco. All have amended their laws to grant women equal rights as men to pass their nationality to their children. UNHCR is working with a number of other countries to make further reforms,” according to the press release.


Stateless people are often ignored or forgotten about and hard to account for, making them some of the most marginalized people in the world.

Those countries that have not shown willingness to eradicate this injustice are violating  international human rights under the UDHR. These violations include, but are not limited to, Article 3 (denying a person the right to life, liberty and security of person), Article 7 (equal protection under the law) and Article 15 (right to nationality).




About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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