Rwanda receives a stateless person detained in US

By Nicole Kamanzi M.
On 25 July 2020 at 05:12

The Rwandan government announced it will receive a stateless person named Adham Amin Hassoun from the United States after completing a prison sentence.

A statement from the Rwandan government said, "Hassoun willingly accepted being relocated and settled in Rwanda."

According to the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons, a stateless person is someone who is not considered as a national by any state.

Rwanda reiterated her full commitment towards fulfilling the UN Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons.

“The Government of Rwanda has previously received stateless persons from various parts of the world and reiterates its full commitment to the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons, to which it is a signatory,”

It says that even before Hassoun, Rwanda received such people from different parts of the world.

In 2006, Rwanda acceded to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

Who is Hassoun?

Adham Hassoun, 58, is a Palestinian born in Lebanon and later moved to the United States in 1989 where he worked as a computer expert in the Broward area of Florida.

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda attack in the United States, he was convicted under the October 2001 Law on the Protection of National Sovereignty, in support of a Muslim charity called Benevolence International Foundation, which has been involved in terrorist activities in Chechnya, Kosovo and Bosnia.

In August 2007, he was convicted, along with Padilla, of conspiracy and material support charges and sentenced to a prison term of 15 years, 8 months but completed his sentence early in 2017 for good behaviour.

The United States is said to have not deported him, as it would normally do to other non-citizens, because he had no citizenship.

So they (U.S) notified him that he was to be detained indefinitely and held him as an immigration prisoner, not until judges ruled a release order in June this year after finding that the US government had provided no basis for holding him.

It was a result of efforts by American Civil Liberties Union, which took part in the court challenge to Hassoun’s continued imprisonment, despite the culmination of his sentence.

When does one become stateless?

In international law, a stateless person is defined as a person who is not considered a national by any country under its laws. Some stateless people are often refugees, only not all refugees are stateless.

People usually get citizenship in a variety of ways, either based on their origin or because their parents were born in a certain country; one can even apply for citizenship.

There are many reasons a person is considered stateless; they may be based on ethnicity, religion, or gender. It can be the birth of a new country, making one who was born there before a native country , since his country no longer exists.

The 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons requires that stateless persons have the same rights as citizens with respect to freedom of religion and education of their children.

For a number of other rights, such as the right of association, the right to employment and to housing, it provides that stateless persons are to enjoy, at a minimum, the same treatment as other non-nationals.

The Convention also upholds the right to freedom of movement for stateless persons lawfully on the territory, and requires States to provide them with identity papers and travel documents.

Hassoun willingly accepted being relocated and settled in Rwanda.