Wednesday, 22 September 2021 02:46 GMT

Maha Mamo uses her story to help the stateless

(MENAFN- Brazil-Arab News Agency (ANBA))

São Paulo – After living for 30 years as stateless, Maha Mamo (pictured above) obtained, in 2018, the right to a nationality, the Brazilian. Born in Beirut, Lebanon, the young woman was unable to obtain Lebanese nationality, as her parents were from Syria. Also, in the family's country of origin, Mamo and her siblings could not be registered as they were born from an interfaith marriage, which in Syria impedes registration.

Statelessness is a problem affecting people worldwide who, for different reasons, are unable to have a nationality. The barrier is only amplified since stateless people cannot have documents and fundamental rights without them.

In the case of Mamo and her sister, the two were the first stateless people to receive nationality in Brazil. Only then she gained access to several fundamental rights, such as traveling freely.“A lot changed after that. I basically earned the right to come and go. I got my passport and traveled to many countries. In many of them, I saw the laws on statelessness change,” revealed she, who is now a lecturer.

During this time, Mamo wrote a book to amplify the discussion and knowledge about the struggle of stateless people. The work ' Maha Mamo – A luta de uma apátrida pelo direito de existir' [Maha Mamo – The struggle of a stateless person for the right to exist] was written in partnership with Brazilian journalist Darcio Oliveira.“My goal today is to give a voice to minorities who feel excluded,” she stated in an interview with ANBA.

Also in collaboration with the journalist, Mamo created the text which will become part of an exhibition at São Paulo's Immigration Museum, which will open this Wednesday (15). The unique poetic production is part of Projeto Raiz [The Roots Project]. The initiative was launched in May and already received productions from Brazilian historian and writer Leandro Karnal and singer-songwriter Emicida.


After obtaining Brazilian nationality, Mamo says she was even able to see her father and other relatives.“I managed to go to Lebanon. This is something I was unable to do before [when I was stateless]. I could not leave because I did not have documents and a passport,” she explained.

Now, the Brazilian wants to make these rights accessible to other people. And at the moment, especially for Rayan, a 13-year-old boy born in Lebanon living as stateless. The boy is the son of a solo mother who died when he was just six months old. According to Mamo, Lebanese women cannot pass their nationality to their children, so Rayan became stateless without the father's registration and currently lives with his two aunts.

An online campaign launched this Tuesday (14) aims to raise donations to pay for documents proving Rayan's identity.“If I can help other children not to have to go through all this [I went through], I will do it,” she concluded.

For the activist, the fact Brazil has put stateless people's registration into practice is an example to be followed.“My goal today is to go to the source of the problem to help solve it. Brazil became an example because it managed not only to write laws but to implement them,” said Mamo.

Quick facts:

Projeto RAIZ | Launch of production by Maha Mamo
Date: September 15
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Sunday, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Location: Garden – São Paulo Immigration Museum

Eu Existo! Eu sou Rayan! [I exist! I am Rayan!]
Donate here

Translated by Elúsio Brasileiro

The post Maha Mamo uses her story to help the stateless appeared first on Agência de Notícias Brasil-Árabe .


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