Since the Second World War, a right to nationality – though difficult to define and rarely enforced – has emerged under international law.
UNHCR and other actors have stepped up efforts to address statelessness. However, the global impact of statelessness is not yet sufficiently understood and far more needs to be done.
Many minorities, including the Rohingya of Burma, are persecuted by being rendered stateless.
There is a need to strengthen international law on nationality rights and avoidance of statelessness in the context of state succession and international conflict.
As a pastoralist from Turkana, who am I and where are my nationality and citizenship?
There is no official recognition of the Nubian community in Kenya and they face considerable discrimination as a result.
Birth registration is a critical first step in ensuring a child’s rights throughout life.
Many decades of unregulated migration of Haitians who have come to live and work in the Dominican Republic have resulted in a significant population whose status is uncertain and who are vulnerable to widespread discrimination and abuses of human rights.
Although statelessness has never attracted the same level of interest as other areas that are central to international human rights jurisprudence, it is now part of official policy discourse at the UN.
Despite a recent large-scale government campaign to encourage applications for citizenship certificates in Nepal, many factors still impede take-up, in particular among certain sections of Nepalese society such as women, IDPs and indigenous communities.
Approximately 160,000 stateless Biharis live in 116 makeshift settlements in Bangladesh. Despite recent developments in voter and ID registration, however, they continue to live in slum-like conditions, facing regular discrimination.
Statelessness – the non-acquisition of citizenship – can blight a child’s prospects throughout life.
The difficulties faced by stateless persons from Thailand in Japan show only too clearly that the international legal framework for their protection is inadequate.
The US government believes that the prevention of statelessness and the protection of those who are stateless should be priorities for all governments.
Only in the past few years has Israel acknowledged that there exists a problem of stateless persons living in Israel; however, this has not prompted the state to recognise the distress of stateless people or to develop appropriate solutions.
It is difficult to give precise figures of the number of stateless persons in the Arab region. Most countries in the region do not publish figures on the number of stateless communities in their midst. However, it is widely recognised that the number of stateless people in the Arab region is one of the highest in the world.
Of the broad range of human rights violations suffered by stateless people, that of the right to be free from arbitrary detention has received little attention. The extent and scale of the problem are not fully known.
The lack of secure property rights heightens the risk of statelessness for displaced Kosovo Roma in Montenegro.
Many Roma have faced discrimination and prejudice from both private groups and national governments.
In addition to the efforts to prevent and reduce statelessness, states should also establish an identification and protection mechanism for stateless persons.
Determination of refugee status is a critical first step in meeting the protection needs of those requiring international protection and is one of UNHCR’s core functions.
Refugee Status Determination (RSD), which is vital to the protection of so many asylum seekers worldwide, is at best an imperfect, haphazard and challenging process. It merits greater attention and appropriate reform.
Lack of access to legal counsel and lengthy delays in procedures continue to undermine Refugee Status Determination procedures in southern Africa.
The provision of independent legal representation for asylum seekers in Turkey is proving a vital component in improving Refugee Status Determination procedures.
Climate change is expected to sharply increase the number and severity of natural disasters, displacing millions on all continents. The international community needs to recognise ‘disaster IDPs’ – and establish new institutional arrangements to protect their human rights.
A recent needs assessment has allowed UNHCR to identify and start to meet significant protection and assistance needs among Colombian refugees in Ecuador.
The EU is working with the Malian government to improve information provision about migration to Europe.
The Council of Europe estimated in late 2007 that there are as many as 5.5 million irregular migrants residing in the EU. From both a human rights and a good governance perspective, this situation is crying out for change.
The role of the state in protecting its citizens and in defending their rights and privileges has become closely intertwined with its capacity to secure its borders and regulate migration flows.
Each year, thousands of people are moved illegally – often in dangerous or inhumane conditions – into, through and from Iran.
The provision of comprehensive reproductive health supplies and services in all situations would help prevent many unnecessary deaths of women and babies.
Can cash grants support the voluntary repatriation and reintegration of refugees?
The advances in laws related to IDPs have not addressed the relationship between internal displacement and peacebuilding in Colombia.
While the number of new IDPs in Colombia is expected to reach record levels, prevention policies are failing and reparation initiatives have been blocked.
Several hundred thousand people of foreign ancestry who used to work on white-owned commercial farms in Zimbabwe are stateless, jobless and either displaced or at risk of displacement.