12 Feb 2013

Stateless man says he will help others on return to US

5:25 am on 12 February 2013

A stateless man who has been stranded in American Samoa for over a year, says once he returns to the United States he will do all he can to protect the rights of others who are stateless.

Mikhail Sebastian became stateless when the former Soviet Union collapsed.

He had lived in the United States for 16 years, but after visiting American Samoa and Samoa he was prevented from returning on the grounds that he had deported himself.

After more than a year of legal struggles, he will be allowed to return to the United States as a humanitarian parole.

Mr Sebastian says he will do all in his power to have the rights of those marginalised as a result of being stateless restored.

"And it is my call and my duty to make sure the United States fully implement all necessary measures to protect and reduce statelessness in this country and pass special legislation concerning statelessness. Especially right now US congress is debating about comprehensive immigration reform and I just don't want statelessness issue to be left aside and be forgotten again and to be in the shadows."

Mikhail Sebastian says he doesn't want to see what happened to him, happen to anyone else.