11 July 2014

What is statelessness? What are its causes and consequences? What is the legal framework and what can be done to address it? To answer these questions, UNHCR has just launched its first public online course on statelessness.

At the end of the course, learners will comprehend the “four pillars of UNHCR’s efforts” to tackle Statelessness (Identification, Prevention, Reduction, Protection) and will know which steps should be undertaken to reduce Statelessness. The launch of this course coincides with the 60th anniversary of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.

On 30 June 2014, UNHCR also published its Handbook on Protection of Stateless Persons, which supersedes the previous 2012 Guidelines concerned with the definition of a stateless person, procedures for determining statelessness and the status of stateless persons under national law. The aim of the handbook is to provide government officials, judges and practitioners, as well as UNHCR staff and other actors involved in addressing statelessness with a resource for statelessness determination and the development and implementation of law and policies relating to the protection of stateless persons.

It is estimated that around 12,000,000 people across the globe are not recognised as a citizen of any state and, as such, often have restricted access to fundamental human, social, and political rights.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 11 July 2014.
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