Nigeria Mistakes Laissez-Passer Passport To Stateless For UN Passport. See The Difference

by Ike Obudulu Last updated on March 24th, 2017,

Sani Zorro, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), says the Nigerian government plans to issue United Nations passport to people at risk of being stateless. Mr. Zorro made this known during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Saturday, in Abuja, marking the second anniversary of Nigeria ratifying the Abidjan Declaration to end statelessness.

He said that the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs and the National Immigration Department are engaged in a process called refugee status determination. He explained that this process would help to ascertain stateless persons that are eligible for the UN passport, a document they can hold on to before their respective cases are resolved. Mr. Zorro noted that it is important for Nigeria to speedily domesticate and implement the Abidjan Declaration on statelessness as it contains the strategies and recommendations of dealing with statelessness. He pointed out that there was a looming stateless situation in Nigeria which could arise from the high level of displacement in the North-east.

“As a result of the North East Crises, quite a number of refugees who find themselves in neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroon may not be able to return to Nigeria again. The longer they live and reproduce in those countries, they would face the risk of statelessness because in future when the host countries ask of their nationality, they would not be able to show evidence. The other situation could be as a result of the over 800 Turkish nationals living and running different businesses in Nigeria whose nationalities were recently nullified by their country’s President. Another situation is of some Nigerians who fled from the Central Africa Republic (CAR) to Nigeria three years ago during the political crises and settled in Kano, Jigawa and other North-western states. These groups of persons are currently stateless because as a result of loss of documents. The younger ones who were born in CAR do not have any papers to prove themselves as Nigerians,” he said.

NigeriaCircle.Com Notes that only the UN and it’s agencies issue UN passport (UNLP). Nigeria is actually planning to issue it’s national  laissez-passer passport to the stateless. The Rwandan Implementation is shown in the photo.

A United Nations Laissez-Passer (UNLP), also known as a UN passport, is a travel document that accredits the identity and the affiliation of the individual bearer to one of the UNLP-issuing United Nations organizations United Nations, World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund, World Health Organization, International Fund for Agricultural Development, International Telecommunication Union, World Intellectual Property Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, UNESCO, International Labour Organization, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, International Civil Aviation Organization, International Maritime Organization, World Meteorological Organization, Universal Postal Union, and the World Tourism Organization. The UNLP is used much like a normal passport would, except that it is designed to be used on official UN business and missions only.

A national laissez-passer (from the French let pass) is a travel document issued by a national government or certain international organizations, such as the United Nations, European Union and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). A laissez-passer is often for one-way travel to the issuing country for humanitarian reasons only such as Restoring Family Links.

Some national governments issue laissez-passers to their own nationals as emergency passports. Others issue them to people who are stateless, or who are unable to obtain a passport from their own government, or whose government is not recognized by the issuing country.
One such example is the People’s Republic of China, which issues the non-passport Chinese Travel Document to its nationals under certain circumstances. One such circumstance stems from a reported loss of passport while traveling or living abroad. China issues a temporary two-year validity Travel Document in lieu of a passport to allow said citizen to complete their travels and return to China to apply for a replacement Chinese passport. Under other circumstances such as a Chinese citizen studying or working abroad, the Chinese embassies or consulates will issue passports if requested. This Travel Document is a blue-covered passport-sized booklet clearly denoted “TRAVEL DOCUMENT” as opposed to the usual red-covered passport.

Historically, laissez-passers were commonly issued during wartime and at other periods, literally acting as a pass to allow travel to specific areas, or out of war zones or countries for various officials, diplomatic agents, other representatives or citizens of third countries. In these contexts, a laissez-passer would frequently include quite specific and limited freedom of movement. The form and issuing authority would be more or less standardized, depending on the circumstances.

An example is when in the early 1950s, the Iraqi government granted permission to its 120,000 Jewish citizens to leave (Operation Ezra and Nehemiah), conditional on their renouncing their citizenship and leaving behind all their properties and assets. The travel document that was issued was the laissez-passer, since an Iraqi passport was no longer possible.
Laissez-passer documents may also be issued to goods or other non-living objects to facilitate their transport across international borders. For instance, the Agreement on the Transfer of Corpses sets out rules whereby human corpses may be issued laissez-passer documents in order for a body to be buried or cremated in a country different from the one in which the person died.
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