The Rights of Non-citizens
Laura Rudnyanszky, CLO, Teleperformance Romania
All people should, by virtue of their essential humanity, enjoy all human rights. Exceptional distinctions, for example between citizens and non-citizens, can be made only if they serve a legitimate State objective and are proportional to the achievement of that objective. Citizens are persons who have been recognized by a State as having an effective link with it. International law generally leaves to each State the authority to determine who qualifies as a citizen. Citizenship can ordinarily be acquired by being born in the country (known as jus soli or the law of the place), being born to a parent who is a citizen of the country (known as jus sanguinis or the law of blood), naturalization or a combination of these approaches. A non-citizen is a person who has not been recognized as having these effective links to the country where he or she is located. There are different groups of non-citizens, including permanent residents, migrants, refugees, asylum-seekers, victims of trafficking, foreign students, temporary visitors, other kinds of nonimmigrants and stateless people. While each of these groups may have rights based on separate legal regimes, the problems faced by most, if not all, noncitizens are very similar. These common concerns affect approximately 175 million individuals worldwide—or 3% of the world’s population.
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