6 June 2014

The European Network on Statelessness (ENS), a group of NGOs, academics and experts committed to ending statelessness in Europe, launched a petition on 28 May 2014 calling for the ratification of the UN Statelessness Convention by European leaders. The petition also calls for more European countries to introduce functioning statelessness determination procedures.

Around 600.000 stateless people live in Europe today. Stateless people are not recognised as citizens by any country; as a result, they have ‘little or no access to education, healthcare, formal jobs and accommodation. They cannot travel overseas, buy property, open a bank account, get a driving license or even marry. In many cases their children will inherit their statelessness’, reports Thompson Reuters.

The same report states that, in Europe, the majority of these people became stateless after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia, while the other ‘significant population is the Roma who are scattered throughout Europe but are frequently denied citizenship by the country they live in’.

The campaign, which marks the 60th anniversary of the 1954 UN Statelessness Convention, also includes testimonies from stateless people about their experiences, as well as a short animated video entitled ‘Everyone has the right to a nationality!’.

The campaign is set to conclude on 14 October 2014, with ‘a concerted day of action against statelessness across Europe’ and the handing over of the petition to European leaders.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 06 June 2014.
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