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Newsletter | August 2020

Welcome to the Peter McMullin Centre's newsletter for August 2020. We are pleased to share with you our current activities, publications, engagements and opportunities as well as recent statelessness news from around the world.

Here at the Centre, we are continuing to adapt to working remotely. On 26 June, our first webinar as part of the Migration, Refugees and Statelessness Seminar Series (in partnership with
Melbourne Social Equity Institute) was a great success, attracting attendees from various parts of the world. Prof Bina D’Costa of Australian National University gave a fascinating presentation about the Rohingya emergency response, exploring three key child protection concerns: trafficking and smuggling, child labour, and child/early marriage. We will announce further webinars and events in next month's newsletter.

We are excited to have started to receive applications for our 2021 Statelessness Intensive Course to be run online.

Feature: Statelessness & Citizenship Review
Issue 2 Volume 1 of the Statelessness & Citizenship Review is currently online. It features six articles, three case notes, two book reviews and a symposium on 'Statelessness and Slavery'.

Below, three authors from this issue reflect upon what lessons can be drawn from the 
women’s movement, the LBGTIQ+ movement and the abolish slavery movement and applied to the movement to address statelessness today.

Reflecting on the women’s movement in statelessness and gender discriminatory national laws, PhD candidate at the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness, Deirdre Brennan responded:

This article sheds light on a little-known history in statelessness: the international campaigns against gender discriminatory nationality laws of the 1920s and 30s. From collating a world-wide report on discriminatory laws, to meeting in the Hague, to drafting conventions, the most important lesson I drew from those early campaigns was their ability to do more with less. With profound financial and logistical improvements, the 1900s citizenship equality activists provide huge inspiration for the continued campaigns today.
When we talk about the field of statelessness being or becoming multidisciplinary and intersectional, history has shown us how the women’s movement has always been intrinsically connected with anti-statelessness work. Like any other phenomenon, there are colourful multifaceted dimensions to the issue of statelessness and it’s our job to actively seek out these complex histories, needs, solutions etc., and integrate them into our work.”

PhD researcher at the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness, Thomas McGee, whose piece looked at statelessness through a queer lens, commented:

"In my article, I argue that despite the common-sense acknowledgement that members of the LGBTIQ+ community may be affected by statelessness, very little has been written about the experiences of LGBTIQ+ stateless individuals. We can perhaps explain the lack of academic attention to ‘rainbow statelessness’ by the fact that intersectional approaches have come rather late to the study of statelessness. At the same time, those working on ‘sexual citizenship’ have tended not to examine the phenomenon of statelessness, perhaps considering it too legalistic in nature.

In contrast to statelessness, there is a relatively rich literature developing at the intersection of queer theory/sexual citizenship and refugee studies. It is encouraging that Statelessness Studies has recently begun to incorporate and integrate more intersectional approaches. My exploratory review of the statelessness-LGBTIQ+ nexus is part of this emerging tradition."

Finally, considering the abolish slavery movement, Programme Manager of the Modern Slavery Programme at the United Nations University, Alice Eckstein, replied:

“Considering the challenges faced by those working to end statelessness, several priorities emerge from anti-slavery research that may resonate across the two movements. The first of these is the monumental task of collecting data about these vulnerable communities – in other words simply to know and communicate the size and nature of the problem. The collection of accurate and compelling data on affected communities gives greater power to the movement to end this form of exploitation. Another shared area in which research to end slavery might contribute to ending statelessness is identifying gaps in implementation of international commitments at national levels - and communicating with policy makers on how most effectively to close those gaps.

Finally, the intersections of exclusion and vulnerability that create conditions of exploitation cannot be ignored in anti-slavery work. Slavery arises from a social and economic environment that tolerates its existence, and to end it, the environment in which it appears must be addressed as well. I would suggest that the same is true of statelessness and many other human rights abuses.”

Visit the Statelessness & Citizenship Review website.


Staffing Update
This month we will say goodbye to our brilliant Research Assistant Elif Sekercioglu who is beginning her legal career as an Associate at the Supreme Court of Victoria. Since her internship at UNHCR Geneva in 2019, Elif has made an invaluable contribution to the team. We are pleased to have Katya Harrop joining the team to replace Elif. Katya undertook an internship with the Centre over the 2019/20 summer and we are delighted to have her back.

You can read more about the Centre's staff on our website here.

Critical Statelessness Studies Blog
The introductory blog post on the newly-launched Critical Statelessness Studies (CSS) Blog is now available online. In the piece, Deirdre Brennan and Thomas McGee write about taking a 'critical' approach to statelessness, and elaborate on what critical approaches can mean for the statelessness sector. They invite readers to reflect upon their own practices or approaches to statelessness work.
Read here.
Indian Citizenship and Statelessness Briefing Note
The Centre, in partnership with Melbourne Law School's Asian Law Centre, published a Briefing Note as part of the India Citizenship and Statelessness Research Project. The full briefing note is available here.

UPR Submission to the UN Human Rights Council for Australia

The Centre led a submission to the UN Human Rights Council for Australia’s Universal Periodic Review on the right to a nationality and human rights challenges pertaining to statelessness in Australia, with partners the Institute for Statelessness and Inclusion; the Refugee Advice & Casework Service; and Statelessness Network Asia Pacific, submitted in July 2020. Read submission