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DOJ issues ruling on protection of refugees and stateless persons

By: - Reporter / @T2TupasINQ
/ 05:32 PM October 22, 2012

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. INQUIRER file photo

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Justice on Monday has issued a rule to be followed to ensure the protection of refugees and stateless persons.

“The refugees and the stateless persons are the most vulnerable. They fall easily through the cracks of our system… Consider the challenge of having no government to safeguard you rights. You have no government that will ensure yours and your family’s physical security,” De Lima said.

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Department Circular No. 058 dated Oct. 18, De Lima said will provide access to a facilitated, prompt and efficient process application for the granting of a refugee or a stateless status.

The circular provides for the requirements to establish a person’s status and allow the suspension of the person’s deportation proceedings.

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Under the circular, a “stateless person” is defined as one “who is not considered a national by any State under the operation of its law,” while a “refugee” is a person who, “owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his or her nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his or her former habitual residence.”

“Recognition of stateless or refugee status will directly benefit both the applicant and is or her family members, entitling them the enjoyment and exercise of rights and privileges provided for by the United Nations Conventions on refugees and stateless persons subject to Philippine laws and regulations,” De Lima said.

The circular intends to establish “a fair, speedy and non-adversarial procedure to facilitate identification, treatment and protection of refugees and stateless persons consistent with the laws, international commitments and humanitarian traditions and concerns of the Republic of the Philippines.”

The rules will take effect 15 days after its publication.

Based on the DoJ records, there are 313 refugees in the country and three stateless persons.

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TAGS: Department of Justice, Features, Global Nation, Leila de Lima, stateless persons
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