Statelessness | Manila weather
STATELESSNESS is a tragic circumstance. The direct result of being stateless is poverty because it would be difficult to get a decent job if one was stateless. State-to-state travel would be almost impossible because a stateless person does not have a passport to travel to other states.
What is a stateless person? He is a person who is not considered to be a national of any state.
How do you become stateless? A person can lose their nationality when they are stripped of their citizenship, such as when the Nazis passed the infamous Nuremberg Laws in 1935, which stripped Jews of their German citizenship even though they fought for Germany. during World War I, or were born Germans. before 1935. Another way is when a person renounces his citizenship, or when a person was born in a country which recognizes only jus sanguinis and his parents are nationals of a country which recognizes only jus soli .
Jus soli means law of the soil, that is to say that citizenship is conferred on a child born in the territory of which he claims citizenship. Jus sanguinis is the law of blood, which means that the citizenship of the child follows the citizenship of the parents.
There are stateless people everywhere. The most famous stateless person in the judicial history of the Philippines was Boris Mejoff. The case of Mejoff is old; it was decided by the Supreme Court in 1949. The case describes the fate of stateless persons. Mejoff fought the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution. The Bolsheviks were called the Red Russians, which made Mejoff, in the political vocabulary of the time, a white Russian. After the victory of the Bolsheviks, Mejoff fled to Shanghai. After the Russian Revolution, Shanghai became a place of refuge; there are old photographs showing the streets of Shanghai with signs written in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet.
Having Caucasian features, Mejoff could easily be mistaken for an American. He was brought to the Philippines by Japanese forces during the Japanese occupation so that he could act as a spy. Upon release, he was arrested by the US Army Counter-Intelligence Corps. Although the People’s Court ordered his release, a deportation case was filed against him and the Immigration Bureau ordered his imprisonment pending deportation to Russia. Russian ships refused to take him aboard their ships. Mejoff languished in jail for years until the Supreme Court ordered his release and ordered the Immigration Bureau to place him under surveillance until the state was ready to deport him. Unfortunately for Mejoff, the adoption by the United Nations of the stateless convention was still years away; thus, he could not avail himself of his privileges.
A relatively more recent case concerns the descendants of Indonesians living in Kidapawan, Cotabato. In 2014, the website of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said there were thousands of people of Indonesian descent living in Mindanao who had been stripped of their citizenship. According to the Indonesian Citizenship Law of 1958, Indonesians who have lived abroad for more than five years without registering with Indonesian authorities would lose their citizenship.
Fortunately for former Indonesians, the Philippines is now a signatory to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. The convention requires the Philippines to issue identity papers to any stateless person who does not have a valid travel document. He also has free access to the courts; stateless persons also benefit from free elementary education. The Philippines is also required to facilitate the assimilation and naturalization of stateless persons.
It cannot expel a stateless person who is legally on its territory, except for reasons of national security or public order. A stateless person can choose his place of residence and move freely within the country, and he has the right to work. He is also free to practice his religion. In return, the stateless person must obey the laws of the Philippine State, abide by its regulations and measures aimed at maintaining public order.
President Manuel L. Quezon, during his tenure, granted 10,000 visas to European Jews who were stripped of their nationality and everything else by the Nazis. More or less 1,300 Jews from Poland, Germany, Austria, Hungary and many other European countries took advantage of his offer. Israel has never forgotten Quezon’s magnanimity, and Filipinos can still travel to Israel visa-free.
It is therefore a pride that the Philippines was a state of refuge for stateless persons, even before they signed an international agreement to guarantee their protection, when they sheltered Jews before World War II to save them from the coming tragedy of the Holocaust.