× Introduction~ Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion
An interview with Benyam Dawit Mezmur, Chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child~ Maria Jose Recalde Vela
Using the CRC to help protect children from statelessness in Serbia~ Praxis Serbia
Erduan - an interview~ NGO Praxis Serbia
Advancing children's right to a nationality through the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child~ Francesco Cecon
Activating the CRC - tools for civil society engagement~ Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion
Human rights and stateless children~ Hernan Vales
The boy~ Amal de Chickera
Discrimination and childhood statelessness in the work of the UN human rights treaty bodies~ Peggy Brett
Gender and birth status discrimination and childhood statelessness~ Betsy L. Fisher
Axin - an interview~ Thomas McGee
Using the UN system to advocate for nationality law reform in Lebanon~ Bernadette Habib
Using the Inter-American regional framework to help stateless children in the Dominican Republic~ Francisco Quintana
Using the African regional framework to realise children's nationality rights in Kenya~ Mustafa Mahmoud Yousif
Sultan - an interview~ Mustafa Mahmoud Yousif
Table of contents


Amal de Chickera

Author information

Amal de Chickera is a founder and Co-Director of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion. A human rights lawyer, he has written, spoken, trained and served as an expert on statelessness and related issues for the UN, NGOs and academia since 2008. Amal holds an LLB from the University of Colombo and LLM from University College London. He co-founded the European Network on Statelessness and Stages, a Sri Lankan theatre group.

Email address


Online profile(s)


Further reading

The boy

Amal de Chickera

The boy does not know his place.
He does not know he is different. Inferior.
He thinks he is equal.
He thinks he can dream. 

We can’t really blame the boy. Well… not fully.
He is just 10.
His needs are simple. His dreams, fantastical.
It is the parents.
They have not taught him well. 

This boy will be trouble.
He has no fear. He will fight for his rights.
And he is likeable.
This boy who is inferior, will rise above.
He connects at the human level.
This is dangerous.

We must regroup, strategise, hit back.
When he dreams, we must crush his spirit.
When he connects, we must put up barriers.
When he is happy, we must make him sad.
When he doubts, we must swoop in for the kill.

We need a label. We must show he is different.
We need to show him. We need to show us.
Rohingya. Haitian. Kurd. Palestinian. Russian.
Any of the above would do.

We need a status. We must show he does not belong. He has no claim.
We need to show him. We need to show us.
Migrant. Illegal. Refugee. Stateless. Displaced. Criminal.
Any combination would do. 

We need a motivation. We must justify our decisions.
We need to show him. We need to show us.
His mother is unequal. His ancestors are not from here. He will steal our jobs.
Any one would do. 

We need consequences. We must attach a cost to inferiority. To not belonging.
We need to show him. We need to show us.
Some education, but poor.
Some healthcare that keeps him alive, but malnourished.
Some movement, but not across borders.
Some documentation, but not the right kind.
Some hope, that flickers and fades. 

We are not inhuman after all.