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18 Breathtaking Photos That Try To Capture What Its Like To Be Stateless

Greg Constantine shows the harsh realities of being without a country to call home.

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Photographer Greg Constantine has spent the better part of a decade documenting the lives of stateless people all over the world. His photographs can be seen in a stunning photo book, "Nowhere People", in which he examines the effects of statelessness on individuals and society. The project is far-reaching, exploring what it means to be stateless across Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia.


Greg Constantine

This stateless man is originally from Somalia. He arrived in Malta by boat. Somalia rejects his as a citizen of the country and Malta has rejected his claims for asylum. Now he and his family are stranded in Malta.

Greg Constantine

Youth from the stateless Urdu-speaking community (or Bihari community) demonstrate at a rally in Dhaka in 2006. In 2008, the community was granted Bangladesh citizenship after 35 years of being stateless.

Greg Constantine

Several thousand people from the Rakhine Buddhist community in Myanmar demonstrate through the streets of Sittwe in an anti-Rohingya and anti-UN protest. The demonstrators were protesting against the existence of a group called the 'Rohingya' and against UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's use of the word 'Rohingya' in a recent speech.

Greg Constantine

A peaceful demonstration in late 2012 by the Bidoon community in Kuwait demanding their right to Kuwaiti citizenship was met with a violent crackdown by the authorities

Greg Constantine

Children from the Dom (gypsy) community play in a slum outside of Basra. The Dom are some of the most vulnerable people in Iraq. Most of the children in the community have no documentation.

Statelessness is a serious issue, it limits the access that people have to jobs, healthcare, education, state services, and increases the risk of conflict, trafficking and exploitation. The UN estimates that 15 million people are not recognized as citizens of a country. In some countries, statelessness is systemic and entrenched across generations, in other cases its the result of an influx of refugees. As borders continue to close and war and economic desperation drives millions from their homeland seeking safety or a better way of life, "Nowhere People" is a worthy reminder of the effect that abstract government designations can have on individuals.

Greg Constantine

Deep rooted discrimination against ethnic Haitians in the Dominican Republic have left tens of thousands stateless in the county. Large number of Dominico-Haitians live in squalid slum-like settlements throughout the country called 'bateyes'.

Greg Constantine

In the late 1800s Nubians from Sudan were conscripted into the British Army and brought to Kenya. Unable to return to Sudan, the British gave the Nubians over 4000 acres of land in Kenya to settle on in 1912. The Nubians have been denied title deed to this land, which is now the infamous Kibera slum. For nearly 50 years following Kenya's independence in 1962, the Nubians were not formally recognized as a tribe of Kenya and were historically denied recognition. A Nubian woman holds a photograph of her grandfather as an officer in the King's African Rifles.

Greg Constantine

A map of West Africa is drawn in chalk on the wall of a home in a remote village in southwestern Cote d'Ivoire. The nationality of hundreds of thousands in Cote d'Ivoire is in question.

Greg Constantine

Ibrahim was born in Mali and migrated to Ivory Coast ten years ago when he was fourteen. He is stateless and now trapped in the area of Soubreˆ because he has no documents and cannot travel through check posts.

Greg Constantine

This 25-year-old woman was born in China and was never registered in the Chinese household registry system because of the existing one-child policy in China as her parents preferred to have a son. In 2003, when she was 14-years-old, human traffickers brought her to Holland. She has had two children since living in Holland. Because she does not possess any documents, both children are registered as 'nationality unknown'.

Greg Constantine

This 26-year-old was born in Myanmar (Burma) and is from the Rohingya ethnic community. In 1982, the entire Rohingya community in Burma was made stateless through a change in Burma's citizenship laws. He and mother fled to Bangladesh after his father was killed in a widespread crackdown against the Rohingya in 1992. He was smuggled into Holland in 2012 and has applied for asylum twice but has been rejected both times. Currently he is not residing legally in Holland and lives temporarily in an old jail that has been turned into short-term housing for aliens, asylum seekers and the homeless.

Greg Constantine

Forced labor, restrictions on travel and the confiscation of land and property in Myanmar's North Rakhine State leave many Rohingya destitute and with no choice but to flee to Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, Rohingya fortunate enough to find employment on fishing boats or in the salt works earn less than US$1 a day.

Greg Constantine

The Dom (gypsy) community are some of the most vulnerable people in Iraq. This 35-year-old woman holds her Iraqi nationality card and stands with her five and three-year-old daughters. None of her four children have documents. Many of the Dom throughout Iraq, were issued an Iraqi Nationality card with an special 'exception' stamp in it, which many authorities around the country now do not recognize as being legitimate.

Greg Constantine

It is estimated that some 108,000 people from the Bidoon community in Kuwait are without the right to citizenship and are stateless. Translated from Arabic, 'Bidoon' means 'without'. Though they have lived in Kuwait for generations and have played a vital role in the development of modern Kuwait, they are denied any number of social, civil, economic and political rights. All three of the men here are unemployed because nearly all Kuwaiti companies are restricted from legally hiring Bidoon.

Greg Constantine

This 13-year-old was born in the Dominican Republic. His father came in 1986 to work on one of the state-owned sugar plantations. He and his brothers have no documents because their parents are of Haitian ancestry. They are unable to go to school because they lack the necessary documents.

Greg Constantine

Without birth certificates, Dalits are unable to obtain birth certificates for their children. None of the women in this Dalit village in Nepal have citizenship or paperwork.

Greg Constantine

A group of Rohingya men push their fishing boat onto shore. Most Rohingya men in the Shamlapur area of Bangladesh work as bonded laborers and are trapped into debt to local Bangladeshi boat owners.

Kate Bubacz is a Senior Photo Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Kate Bubacz at kate.bubacz@buzzfeed.com.

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