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Children playing with their phones, as they wait for class to begin, in Almaty, Kazakhstan (September 2019).
© UNICEF/UNI209842

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: Eye health, UN’s financial crisis, progress in Mali and South Sudan, human rights in Australia

Tuesday’s top stories: Global need for eye care is set to increase ‘dramatically’; work and reforms of the UN ‘at risk’; progress on Mali security; South Sudan peace accord anniversary; Rights chief Bachelet urges rollback on Australia migration policies; and an interview with Maha Mamo, living proof of why statelessness needs to end worldwide.

UN News/Daniel Johnson

If you’re stateless, ‘just going to school is a problem’ 

What does it mean to be stateless?

It’s a question that’s being discussed all this week in Geneva, at an event organized by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) to help millions of people without official papers, often through no fault of their own.

After her story was highlighted by UNCHR Goodwill Ambassador Cate Blanchett during Monday’s session, UN News’s Daniel Johnson caught up with Maha Mamo, who grew up in Lebanon before being given Brazilian nationality.

She started by describing the everyday problems she encountered, living in limbo.

© UNHCR/Roger Arnold

Millions of people in stateless ‘limbo’, warns UNCHR

People in every region of the world who do not have a nationality face a “day-to-day struggle” in accessing basic human rights such as education, healthcare and work, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Tuesday.

It’s thought that there are an estimated 12 million stateless people globally, and the UN agency is calling for countries to speed up their efforts to eradicate the problem by 2024, as spokesperson Andrej Mahecic tells UN News’s Daniel Johnson.

UN News/Daniel Johnson

Chile applauded for commitment to tackling statelessness

Statelessness affects 10 million people globally, so Chile’s adoption of international accords that promote a fundamental right to nationality is an important step, the UN Refugee Agency (UNCHR), said on Tuesday.

Without official nationality, people can face obstacles enrolling in school, seeking healthcare and getting married, as agency spokesperson William Spindler told Michelle Kusuma.