Covid19 impact on people at risk of statelessness in Assam, India

Covid19 pandemic has added another layer of vulnerability to the people at risk of statelessness in Assam. More than 100000 have been declared foreigners by the notorious Foreigner Tribunals in an arbitrary manner. The National Register of Citizens (NRC), a citizenship verification exercise, excluded more than 1.9 million applicants. The NRC required applicants to prove they and their families lived in Assam before 1971. Having spent their resources on legal cases, logistics to obtain documents and attend hearings people declared foreigners and those excluded from the NRC found it difficult to cope with the pandemic. Our work involves empowering these communities to access covid19 response and social protection. We engage with the communities and lawyers through our legal empowerment initiative.