In this talk, Rupali Samuel takes the example of India to explore how exclusionary regimes use citizenship laws as a vehicle for oppression and marginalisation. Based on her experience working at the Parichay Legal Clinic in India, she will reflect on the challenging citizenship verification processes adopted by India in Assam, their consequences in terms of detention and deportation, and how the lack of a proper refugee protection framework perpetuates human rights violations. Rupali will also address how the country’s National Register of Citizens project and recent citizenship amendment law further the exclusion of certain groups.
Rupali Samuel works with Parichay, a collaborative legal aid clinic providing legal representation to vulnerable persons facing the prospect of statelessness as a result of a citizenship verification exercise conducted in the state of Assam in northeast India. At Parichay, Rupali leads and coordinates student teams in supporting Parichay’s mission of aiding disenfranchised individuals, both through representation and documentation, as well as engaging in strategic impact litigation. Rupali is a graduate of the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) University and Harvard Law School.
Bronwen Manby will be the discussant. Bronwen is an independent consultant, senior visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Africa coordinator for the GLOBALCIT citizenship observatory hosted by the European University Institute. She previously worked for Human Rights Watch and the Open Society Foundations. Bronwen has been researching and writing on statelessness, comparative citizenship law, and identification as a citizen for more than fifteen years. Her book Citizenship in Africa: The Law of Belonging analysed the history of citizenship laws in Africa, and their relationship with politics, from the colonial era to the present; more recent work has considered the implications of the target to ‘provide legal identity’ established by the Sustainable Development Goals. She has worked closely with UNHCR on its global campaign against statelessness, including in-depth reports on different regions of Africa; and has also advised the World Bank ‘identification for development’ initiative. She was nominated for a Good-ID award in 2021.