The COVID-19 pandemic and related policy measures have had a disproportionate impact on the lives of stateless persons and those affected by citizenship issues around the globe, as well as on efforts to promote the right to nationality. The stateless and citizenship affected persons are being largely left behind by governments, humanitarian actors and donors, and without urgent intervention, the consequences will be devastating. Indeed, the ability of States and the international community to deal effectively with the threat to health and its wider fallout (including for example the economic impact and threat to peace and security) is inextricably linked in the ability to include everyone.
To ensure that stateless people are included, the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI) launched the COVID-19 Emergency Statelessness Fund (CESF), in order to build and channel support to NGOs and citizenship rights activists on the frontline of the crisis, and to grow an international consortium of partners collaborating in COVID-19 responses. Around the world, the first projects are now underway to unpack and document the impact of the pandemic on stateless communities, step up advocacy and strengthen capacity to prevent exclusion.
Under the CESF, projects are being implemented or are about to begin in Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Montenegro, Nepal, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The webinar showcases these projects and provides space for a discussion with consortium members on the impact of COVID-19 on the communities they support, and how funding and partnership under the CESF is helping to address the crisis. A key donor of the CESF will also join the conversation to offer reflections and to comment on the value of this initiative as a means to protect the lives of some of the most marginalised people across the globe during this devastating pandemic.