By Lewis S. Teh
The Government of Liberia through the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) has alarmed that a significant number of Liberians are without birth certificates.
At an official program in observance of the World Day Against Statelessness held in Monrovia on 7 November 2022, LRRRC Executive Director Rev. Festus Logan said this poses a serious threat to those in this category becoming stateless citizens.
“We have a good number of our citizens, some even in government, who do not have a birth certificate and they are at risk of being stateless,” said Rev. Logan.
The occasion was held under the theme: ‘Gender Equality, Nationality Laws and Statelessness.’
Rev. Logan said he is grateful to President George Manneh Weah who ensured that the Alien and Nationality Law was passed and signed into law.
He said before the passage of that law, many citizens were victims of being stateless.
“Some of us were born in the house and our parents didn’t make it their responsibility to go to the hospital to obtain a birth certificate,” said Rev. Logan.
“Listen, when you do not have a birth certificate, you are at risk of being stateless,” he warned.
At the same time, Rev. Logan vowed to institute policies that will address the issues of stateless citizens, especially by allowing citizens across the fifteen counties to acquire birth certificates.
For her part, the Program Director at Christian Aid Incorporated, Rev. Miatta Sirleaf, used the occasion to encourage citizens who have not acquired their birth certificates to attach values and seriousness to getting the document.
“We stand here today on this occasion to create awareness on the issues regarding the statelessness of citizens under this difficult condition,” said Rev. Sirleaf.
She said the lack of a birth certificate can’t guarantee you any citizenship or make you a resident of any country.
“If you do not have a birth certificate, it’s difficult for anyone wanting to travel and acquire education outside of any country,” she explained further.
According to her, about 80% of the country’s population is unaware of statelessness. –Edited by Winston W. Parley