The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Geneva-based agency that helps millions who have fled or lost their homes, launched the #IBelong initiative to raise awareness about the 10 million people that do not have a nationality. In November of 2014, UNHCR released a one-minute YouTube video titled “End Statelessness Now,” to illustrate how statelessness hinders access to education, healthcare, and other services. In the video, the narrator asks listeners to imagine the consequences of feeling invisible, as if one’s existence was not acknowledged by countries everywhere. The camera focuses on close-ups of refugees and asylum seekers, as they crouch and curl into a ball. There are men, women, and children of varying ethnic and religious backgrounds. The video urges supporters to join the campaign and advocate for those without any citizenship by signing the UNHCR open letter.
What are examples of challenges that refugees without nationalities face, according to the video?
How do you think the experiences of immigrants with citizenship, visas, and other forms of nationality compare to the experiences of the stateless?
Why do you think the producers chose to portray the stateless individuals as crouched and curled into a ball? What image are they re-creating and what message does that position/image convey? Why do the stateless remain voiceless and nameless?
How do the feelings evoked in this video compare to other media representations of refugees? How has journalism shaped the way you think about the Syrian refugee crisis or the Rohingya today?
What is the goal of the UNHCR in the video? Would you be willing to sign a petition based on this emotional plea? Would you want more information?