Are some individuals really stateless?

African children kissing their father

Are some individuals really stateless?


According to the Wikipedia, “a stateless person is someone who is not considered as a national by any state under the operation of its law.” Based on this definition, are there really individuals that are stateless particularly in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Personally, I don’t think there are stateless individuals at least not in the Turks and Caicos. Perhaps there are stateless individuals in other countries.

In the USA, once an individual is born in that country, that individual automatically becomes a USA citizen. In some countries such as the Turks and Caicos Islands, Canada, Bahamas and Haiti, an individual is not automatically granted citizenship because that individual was born in the country.

However, based on my understanding, an individual that was born in a country that does not grant citizenship by birth can obtain citizenship through one of their parents. For example a child that is born in the Turks and Caicos to Haitian parents can obtain the status of their Haitian parents. If that is the case then why do we say there are thousands of Haitian children that are stateless in the Turks and Caicos Islands?

I am aware of a situation whereby a Cuban child was considered stateless in the Turks and Caicos but based on Cuban Nationality law, nationality can be granted to individuals who were born outside of Cuba to Cuban parents even if their parents lost their nationality.


There is a big push particularly by United Nations to protect stateless children. Hence the 1954 Convention was introduced. Countries that signed up to this convention must guarantee the rights of stateless children to elementary education.

  • I  can understand the logic behind providing access to education as you do not want to have people living in a country that is not educated otherwise it can lead to many social problems. However, I do not believe that education should be free.  Perhaps we should allow individuals to have access but they should go to private schools and pay like the rest of us. A country should not be bear the burden to educate “stateless children.”
  • I think parents should always be encouraged to register and obtain nationality through their parents’ birth country.
  • I think there must be a constant education on the laws of the Turks and Caicos Islands even though I believe most people know the law when it comes to grant of nationality when a child is born in a country to parents who are not citizens of that country.
  • I don’t think countries especially small countries should change their laws to grant citizenship to individuals who were born in a country. Too much abuse and advantage are already being taken off and it created not only financial issues but also immigration and social issues.


I know that this is a sensitive issue but the truth is many people are conscious of what they are doing when they decide to give birth to children in a country that does not offer citizenship immediately upon birth. Many countries are reviewing their laws and considering removing automatic citizenship to all individuals.

In fact some of the individuals that are complaining about the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas not offering automatic citizenship, their countries also do not offer the same.

I realize that there are many illegal people in the country but they can still get the documentation from their birth country for their children without having to travel to that country.

Let us be wary of individuals claiming to be stateless. Check the laws and you may discover that they are not stateless at all for they can obtain their status from their parents. Remember citizens must come first but sometimes it seems more efforts are being made to protect “stateless individuals” than the individuals with status.

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