Greece has joined the growing group of states that have extended the right to vote in national elections to their citizens abroad. Although the rhetorics – and to a certain extend the expectations – of the Greek government were far more generous in terms of expanding the vote to a broader expatriate electorate, the law provides for a considerable number of restrictions aiming at guaranteeing that the persons entitled to vote conserve genuine links with the country.
The Statelessness Index is an online tool that provides extensive country by country analysis of law, policy and practice, which has been benchmarked against international norms and good practice and then assessed using five categories, ranging from the most positive to the most negative. It allows users to quickly understand which areas of law, policy and practice can be improved by states and which can be looked to as examples of good practice in addressing statelessness.
The National Registry of Citizens (NRC) provides paths to statelessness for groups that are not preferred, by ostensibly sorting nationals from non-nationals, but in effect doing this on the basis of religion. This is why, though the idea of the NRC itself is not new, what its current avatar does to the legal and constitutional idea of citizenship is new. It seeks to identify those that cannot prove their ancestry in India and, in the first instance, disenfranchise, but in the longer run possibly deport or confine them in detention centres.
The National Registry of Citizens (NRC) is a platform for divisive parochial politics, an anti-human project that reduces people into statistics and numbers. In India, the British colonials had introduced the census of people beginning from 1872. The effort was to categorise and box the colonial subjects within classificatory schemes of religions, castes, tribes, and so on. This was very confusing to the people of India. The current NRC is a further regression into undermining humanity. The individual human person disappears into an abstract NRC number and is recognisable only if she/he has that mark. It is such an unusual exchange, yet it reassures the people that this is what they want.
The border state of Assam in Northeastern India has had a long history of migration from the neighbouring region that is now Bangladesh. This migration began well before the partition of India in 1947, when the international border between eastern Bengal (which became East Pakistan and subsequently Bangladesh) and India came into existence. Since the 1970s, a decade that began with Bangladesh’s war of independence from Pakistan, the phenomenon of ‘suffraged non-citizens’ has been the cause of intense political controversy in Assam. Yet the legacy of the 1947 partition makes this issue more than just a matter of undocumented cross-border migration.
The Withdrawal Agreement does not guarantee the maintenance of existing local government electoral rights for those covered by its remit, let alone suggest a framework for such rights to accrue for other EU27 citizens and UK citizens were the UK to leave the EU. This, in turn, has led the government to reach agreements with Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg on preserving reciprocal voting rights in local government elections.
Imagine this scenario: Jack Letts, ISIS foreign fighter, is a citizen of the U.K. and of Canada. Neither country wants to claim him. Each has the possibility of revoking his citizenship as long as Letts is not rendered stateless. The result is an arbitrary race to see which country could strip his citizenship first. To the loser goes the citizen — maybe Canada, maybe the U.K.
Nationality swapping is nowadays common in professional sports. An ever-increasing number of professional athletes hold at least one functional sporting nationality’ on top of the one acquired by birth. This permits them to compete for the country that offers them better reputational or financial prospects. During the men’s World Cup in France in 2018, we estimated that 26.79 per cent of the players (198 of 739) had dual citizenship. When repeating the same exercise for this year’s Women’s World Cup we found that only 6.88 per cent of the players (38 of 552) possessed more than one passport. We argue that this trend is a symptom of the interplay of gender inequalities inherent in sports industries and the male-dominated cultural symbolism of sports in national contexts.
Four reasons might be anticipated. First, there is some historical continuity since naturalisation has always been a path followed by very few in the region (Acosta 2018). Second, the need to renounce the previous nationality, at least on paper, in countries like Mexico, could act as a deterrent. Third, immigration rates have been quite low in Latin America since the large immigrations of the early 20th Century. Fourth, most current immigration is of regional origin and regional integration processes such as MERCOSUR, the Andean Community but also the Central American System of Integration (SICA in its Spanish acronym), have facilitated mobility, residence and access to rights for regional migrants thus possibly limiting incentives to naturalise.