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Friday, June 21, 2024

CAMPAIGNING AGAINST STATELESSNESS – THE UNWAVERING LIBERIAN EFFORTS

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MONROVIA – In preparations for the 9th-anniversary observance of the #IBelong Campaign dubbed as World Day against Statelessness in November 2023, the third in a series of training and awareness workshop will be held in Cotton Tree for local community leaders and civic society actors on Saturday, August 12, 2023.

The workshop, according to leader campaigner, Bishop Kortu K. Brown, will bring together about 150 community participants to be trained as Volunteer Field Registrars (VFRs). It is being organized by the Liberia Statelessness Campaign under the auspices of Church Aid Inc., the relief and development arm of the Apostolic Pentecostal Church International based in Brewerville, Montserrado County. The campaign, lead globally by the UNHCR is coordinated nationally by the Liberia Refugee, Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) in collaboration with other partners including the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Gender, religious community, civic society, and other actors. The goal is to reach more than 25,000 persons with awareness in lower Margibi

The 1-day workshop will focus on the definition, causes and prevention of Statelessness; the importance of birth registration and awareness in the prevention of statelessness; the complementary role of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in the fight against statelessness; the promotion of gender-equal nationality laws and rights; and, an awareness on the fight against gender-based violence, amongst others. About 15 million people are estimated by the United Nations to be stateless worldwide.

The first training and awareness workshop for Volunteer Field Registrars in this year was held about one month ago, with 50 participants in Gardnersville, Montserrado County while the second workshop was held about a week ago, in Boys’ Town, Marshall Territory, Margibi County with about 75 participants. The trained community leaders will be responsible to establish local advocacy networks and provide awareness on statelessness, birth registration, the SDGs, gender-equal nationality laws and domestic violence, amongst others.

Since the inception of the campaign in Liberia about 9 years ago, the Liberia campaign has done awareness in more than 10 counties and birth registration in about 7 counties for more than 10,000 children under the age of 12 as part of the actions against statelessness in Liberia. Statelessness can be caused by the lack of birth registration and documentation; discrimination in race, language, ethnicity, gender; gaps in nationality laws; state secession and administrative obstacles or difficulties in meeting requirements established by States, amongst others.

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