Statelessness remains a significant issue both globally and in Europe, despite the existence of relevant international treaties to prevent and reduce this phenomenon and to protect stateless persons. The right to a nationality is reflected in numerous widely ratified international treaties and is considered a gateway to the enjoyment of a range of other rights. It also constitutes part of a person's social identity.

Yet, according to the latest UNHCR estimates, there are some 535,000 stateless persons, including those with undetermined nationality living in Europe. The lack of nationality has a serious impact on their lives, their enjoyment of the full range of human rights, including access to education, employment, healthcare, housing, and freedom of movement. The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly aggravated their already marginalized situation.

The causes of statelessness are manifold, including complexities of conflicts in nationality laws, state succession, forced displacement, historical and contemporary migration, structural birth registration problems, gaps in nationality and administrative practices. The prevention and reduction of statelessness and the identification and protection of stateless persons are among the priority areas of the Council of Europe’s Action Plan on Protecting Vulnerable Persons in the Context of Migration and Asylum in Europe (2021-2025).

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UNHCR and Council of Europe discuss statelessness, urge States to uphold the right to a nationality in Europe

24 September 2021 Strasbourg, France

Strengthening efforts to end statelessness in Europe and guarantee the provision of fundamental rights to everyone was the key theme of the events organised on 23-24 September in Strasbourg by the Council of Europe’s European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee...

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Statelessness and the right to a nationality in Europe

23 September 2021 Strasbourg

An international conference jointly organised by the Council of Europe, through the European Committee on Legal Co-operation, and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) will examine how member states in Europe can best address the problem of statelessness and foster opportunities to rally...

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CDCJ 94th Plenary meeting

Current practices and challenges regarding the avoidance and reduction of statelessness in Europe

13-15 November 2019 Strasbourg, France

At its 94th plenary meeting in Strasbourg (13-15 November 2019), CDCJ discussed the current practices and challenges regarding the avoidance and reduction of statelessness in Europe in the company of Professor Doctor Gerard-René de Groot (Maastricht University -The Netherlands , and University of...

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