Law Talks: Laura Bingham on Statelessness

Laura Bingham, a lawyer with the Open Society Justice Initiative, looks at the legal battle to persuade states to eliminate the scourge of statelessness, which blights the lives of millions around the world. Law Talks presents conversations with lawyers at the Open Society Justice Initiative aimed at introducing law students and others to current issues in public interest litigation.

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Excellent talk. Extremely worthy cause. Keep up the good work. In another vein, what is your organization's and/or Ms. Bingham's take on recent comments by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter regarding the current Administation's alleged Human Rights violations?

Let me get this straight. If my country of origin creates or has forced upon it, some economic or civil situation which I disagree with or I decide to flee, that makes me "Stateless"? And, if I am stateless, it violates me "Human Rights"? Open Society advocates this position? I have a human right to a guarantee of a country? As if I am somehow harmed by not having a country to call my own? REALLY NOW!

By this argument, I am harmed by not having a farm to call my own. Or a truck, or a milk cow or a seventy-two inch plasma screen tv.

With millions of children starving from malnutrition, I would think that Open Society would be better served using its resources solving that problem.

Dear Furman, Fleeing a country doesn't make you stateless; it makes you a refugee, or a migrant, or, if you don't leave, an internally displaced person. You are stateless when the country you were born doesn't ackowledge your rights and place as a citizen, and no other country does either. So no passport. No social security number. Possibly no education or regular medical care. Stateless people therefore end up being poor too, and their children can end up malnourished too. Jonathan Birchall, Senior Communications Officer, Open Society Justice Initiative

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