Italy to help 3,000 people who risk becoming stateless

Rome: The Italian Union of Stateless People, which deals with stateless people, has revealed that it plans to improve the lives of nearly 3,000 individuals without official nationality or citizenship in the country.

According to Info Migrants, the main cause of the phenomenon of statelessness being common in Italy is related to the fact that many people didn’t apply for citizenship after the Soviet Union and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia were dissolved, which has caused stateless people to remain in the country, for generations, reports.

Not having a legal identity disables stateless people from having access to fundamental rights such as medical treatment, education, social protection and regular jobs. The same applies to undocumented stateless individuals who can be exempted from the right to obtain a driving licence, rent an apartment or open a bank account.

Unia, the newly founded union is acclaimed for the protection of stateless people, as it has ratified both international conventions regarding the matter.

Italy is among the fewest countries in the world that determine the status of statelessness, with all of the challenges that come with this state, which include difficulties to ensure that people living in such a state benefit from their rights.

The Union said it is working to promote clear and trustworthy information for people in this condition, so they can learn and benefit from their rights. Unia also seeks and aims at reforming procedures to make information more accessible and efficient for these people. This would mean curbing down these procedures’ length and exempting them from a language test. In addition, flexible implementation of requirements related to income is one of the goals Unia intends to achieve.

According to Stateless Index, as of January 1, 2020, there were 552 stateless people in Italy but estimates are that around 3,000 are at risk of becoming stateless in the country.

The majority of these people, as the website reveals, are people from Roma communities from former Yugoslavia that have been living in Italy for many years, which include a large proportion of children.

“A recent judgment of the Ordinary Court of Florence reaffirmed that the burden of proof on the applicant for statelessness status is mitigated, and any gaps can be filled with the investigative powers of the judge, by requesting information from the public authorities of the State of the origin or the State to which a significant connection is detected,” the website reads.

Additionally, there were 27,940 stateless people in Germany in 2021, with the majority of those being women – 411,860 compared to 16,080 men. However, there are also some overlapping categories, including those with an ‘unclear’ nationality, which represent 94,945 people in the country.