Inaugural Webinar

Exploring Right to Nationality in the Context of India

6 Feb 2021 | 4-6 pm | Zoom

The RNCN’s inaugural webinar discussed the Right to Nationality, which is recognised as a human right by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), in the Indian context through two key policy regimes – the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019. Stripping millions of people, most of them belonging to minority communities, of their citizenship has the potential to cut them off from all other rights, resources, and access to services. Such large-scale and systematic deprivation of citizenship of millions of residents is a threat to not only India’s security, but also regional stability. It also threatens to create a set of second-class, effectively stateless, set of ‘non-citizens’ who would lack the basic safeguards and rights that the Constitution of India guarantees.

Release of COVID-19 Exclusion Report

The RNCN ‘Marginalised and Impoverished in Assam’ report documents the hardships and exclusion from COVID-19 response and social security provisions experienced by the people at risk of statelessness in Assam. The study was done during September and October 2020 and documented experiences through interviews of declared foreigners, those released from detention and those declared as doubtful voters. It also examines the government’s COVID-19 responses and other social circumstances in the light of exclusion faced by at-risk communities. 

The report was released during the webinar.


AMAL DE CHICKERA is co-director and co-founder of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. He also teaches a masters level course on statelessness and the right to nationality at Middlesex University London. Amal has researched, advocated, written, spoken, delivered training and served as an expert on statelessness and related issues for the UN, NGOs and academia, since 2008.

SANJAY HEGDE is a reputed Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court and specialises in different fields of law, including citizenship. He has represented people declared foreigners by Assam’s Foreigner Tribunals and written about the issue of foreigners and Supreme Court’s handling of the NRC process. He has appeared before the Court in several high-profile matters, including the Nirbhaya case, where he was asked by the court to assist as Amicus Curiae.

ANJUMAN ARA BEGUM is an LLM, Ph.D. human rights researcher from Northeast India. Anjuman has produced several research-based reports and contributed widely to websites, print media, scholarly journals and books. Her major contribution is unpacking issues of impunity in the region by bringing out victims’ experiences through narratives and legal analysis. Anjuman is also a freelance journalist and member of Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group (Kolkata) and Women in Governance (New Delhi).

AMAN WADUD is a Human Rights lawyer based in Guwahati who defends citizens charged as ‘illegal migrants’. He co-founded the Justice and Liberty Initiative to provide pro bono legal aid to NRC excluded people. He spearheads a network of ‘Samvidhan Kendras’ in different parts of Assam that aim to provide free legal counsel and aid to people in need.

ANGSHUMAN CHOUDHURY is a Senior Researcher at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi, and a former GIBSA Visiting Fellow to the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Berlin. He works on issues of armed conflict, forced displacement and citizenship. Angshuman is also the founding-editor of Eleventh Column, an online magazine on politics, foreign policy and society. He has a Masters in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding from Durham University, UK.


RAVI HEMADRI has been working with civil society organisations since the 1990s with focus on rights of marginalised, displaced, and disenfranchised people. He specialises in community engagement, capacity building, advocacy, and campaigning for the rights of the communities. He is a founder and currently Director of Development and Justice Initiative, New Delhi.