We All Want to Belong

By Chrysula Winegar

February 20, 2015

I’ve had the amazing opportunity to live in five countries and 10 cities throughout my life—and partly because of being in a military family as a child, I’ve moved houses more than 40 times. Sometimes I have to stop and think about where “home” is and what the concept really means. Is it a place? Is it an emotion or a state of mind? Or is it something in between?

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What I don’t have to worry about is whether I have a home. I’ve always had the privilege of a roof over my head, a comfortable place to sleep that is warm or cool depending on my need, and a sense of wellbeing and security in my surroundings. I have always known a doctor will see me when I need one, my children would inherit citizenship and have all the rights of being part of a nation. In fact because of my travels and family history, they have two countries that will welcome them at any time because they have documentation and legal status in those two nations.

So what happens when a person has no home – when they are stateless?

“You are sure you are human, but you have no human rights.”

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The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, says that 10 million people around the world have been told they don’t belong anywhere. They are denied a nationality and all the basic human rights that go along with that. It makes it impossible to travel, extremely difficult to work, dream and plan for a future. The stateless often find it difficult to marry or are frightened to have children because of their uncertain status.

 

Take Action Challenge

Go to the #IBELONG website and sign an open letter to end statelessness here. You’ll join a virtual map of supporters from around the world calling on world leaders to take action on resolutions already made by the United Nations. Learn more at www.ibelong.unhcr.org or find UNHCR on Twitter and Facebook. Let’s make sure every child has somewhere to call home.

 

 

Images courtesy of UNHCR

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