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3rd European Conference on Nationality: “Nationality and the Child”
11-12 October 2004, Council of Europe, Strasbourg

Greater mobility due to the further integration of the European continent has led to an increase in migration. A person’s successful integration into his or her new country of residence may be influenced by the possibility of being naturalised. The right of foreign children to acquire the nationality of the country where they were born and reside may further encourage and stimulate their integration.

Today children are seen as subjects possessing their own rights and obligations, rather than mere objects of international law. Hence, children’s wills and wishes have increasing importance with respect to their acquisition and change of nationality.

There is also the problem of statelessness of children. Although the right to nationality and to be registered at birth is set out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a great number of children are not registered. This may have consequences for their acquisition of a nationality and put them at risk of being stateless. Statelessness may furthermore arise in cases where international adoption fails.

The 3rd European Conference on Nationality was therefore designed to give an impetus to the Council of Europe’s future work on improving the instruments to fight statelessness and on ensuring further harmonisation