Vaccination of Rohingya individuals in India, following the intervention of CESF Consortium Member DAJ. Credit: Aparna Dewal, Refugee Program Coordinator
Millions of stateless people are being excluded from COVID-19 vaccines based on an international consortium’s new report.
Palestinians and Rohingya communities are among the stateless people who have been denied equal access to state vaccination programmes, the report claims.
The Global COVID-19 Consortium – set up by the Middlesex University-backed Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI) – brings together the experience and expertise of stateless activists, grassroots groups and non-governmental workers (NGOs) in 13 countries.
Its new report – Together We Can: The Covid-19 Impact on Stateless People & A Roadmap for Change – documents the impact of the pandemic on the estimated 15 million stateless people in the world and tens of millions whose nationality is at risk.
The report highlights how:
Report co-author Amal De Chickera, co-founder of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion and a visiting lecturer at Middlesex University, said: “Vaccine nationalism both between and within countries, undermines public health imperatives, with devastating consequences for stateless people.
“Internationally, 85% of the world’s vaccinations have been delivered in high and upper-middle income countries, with only 0.3% being delivered in low income countries, where many stateless people live.
“At national levels, the citizens first approach taken by most states, completely excludes the stateless or pushes them to the back of vaccination queue.
“Such vaccine inequity is the latest example of how stateless people endure the combined impact of global and local inequalities.”
The Roma community in Montenegro. Credit: Robert Ivezić
Report co-author and ISI team member Ottoline Spearman added: “In reacting to COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, states have adopted a citizen first approach and by consequence the stateless are the last in line if they ever do get the vaccine but also in some countries stateless people are excluded for more sinister reasons.
"They are excluded by design or default for various political purposes.
“From a public perspective, it makes no sense to be wilfully excluding a significant proportion of the population from vaccinations.”
A stateless person is defined as someone who is "not considered as a national by any state under the operation of its law".
The Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion is based on the university campus and affiliated with the School of Law.
The report is grounded in the lived experience and emergency response of grassroots groups, stateless activists & NGOs in 13 countries - Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Montenegro, Myanmar, Nepal, North Macedonia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
It includes a practical 3-step roadmap for resolving and addressing the structural discrimination and exclusion of stateless people, during COVID-19 and beyond.
Drawing on the experiences and expertise of consortium members, the roadmap can inform and guide the responses of governments, UN agencies, NGOs and others.
The report will be launched by the Global COVID-19 Consortium via public online events in Europe on Thursday June 17 from 2pm - live and recorded on YouTube - and in the Asia Pacific from 1pm on Monday June 21.