Saving Mohammad* from Statelessness


JCLA has successfully helped a vulnerable beneficiary appeal a government decision to denationalize him. Mohammad (not his real name) is a 41-year-old Jordanian who is a Palestine refugee in origin. He is a father of three and lives with a physical disability. Mohammad was born in Kuwait. Following the Gulf War, he returned to Jordan in 1993 with his family. In 2002, after losing his hand in a work accident, Mohammad obtained a low-level government job delivering refreshments to staff.  

Mohammad found out that he had been denationalized in 2013, while attempting to register the birth of his newborn with the Civil Status Department. The Department clerk informed Mohammad that he was denationalized because of a visit he had made to Palestine in 1987. As he no longer held the Jordanian nationality required to work for the government, Mohammad was soon discharged from his job. Stateless and unable to provide for his family, Mohammad could not afford a lawyer to help him appeal the denationalization decision.

 “I didn’t understand why that happened… All my family members have Jordanian nationality, I was the only one who was stripped of the nationality, and I was devastated” – Mohammad

Mohammad spent several years trying to reverse the government’s decision, appealing to different parties and exploring different venues but was never successful.  In 2015 Mohammad brought his legal problem to the attention of UNRWA, who referred him to JCLA for legal assistance.

As Mohammad could not afford a lawyer to help him with his legal problem, JCLA found him eligible to receive free legal representation. A JCLA legal consultant contacted the Prime Minister’s Office and followed up on Mohammad’s letter to the office, arguing that the denationalization was an administrative error. Three months after taking on Mohammad’s case, the Prime Ministry’s office decided to reinstate Mohammad’s nationality. JCLA has also since obtained a decision from the administrative court that Mohammad should be re-instated in his government job. While the government is currently appealing this decision in the Supreme Court, JCLA remains optimistic that the Supreme Court will come to a similar decision and Mohammad will soon be able to return to his old job and once again provide for his family.

“I tried everything, I went everywhere and asked everyone trying to understand how I could solve this problem. Then UNRWA [referred me to JCLA], and three months later all my problems were solved.” - Mohammad

Since 2008, the Justice Center for Legal Aid has been providing information, advice and representation to poor and vulnerable people in Jordan. Through its vast network of partnerships, including with UNRWA, JCLA is able to provide pathways to justice for people around the country, like Mohammad, to receive legal advice and assistance that they would otherwise be unable to afford.

* Not his real name.