“Everyone has the right to a nationality”

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The blog entries represent the views of the authors but not those of the Network, unless otherwise noted.

  • A look back at seven years at the helm of UNHCR’s Statelessness Section

    22 May 2015

    When it comes to issues of forced displacement, there is a massive amount of doctrine, operational guidance and academic writing. There are a range of international organisations involved and many, many NGOs. It is a crowded field. In contrast, in 2008 when I took up my post as head of the Statelessness Section, there was relatively little doctrinal or operational guidance from UNHCR and few NGOs and academics working on statelessness.

  • Using the UPR to address statelessness

    14 May 2015

    The United Nations Human Rights Council has a system of 'Universal Periodic Review' (UPR) which covers all member states of the UN.  This means that each state is considered every 4.5 years across all human rights issues, and so clearly includes statelessness, whether or not the state is a party to the Statelessness Conventions or any other human rights treaties.  This is a political, and sometimes politicised, process but despite, and even sometimes because of, this it...

  • Statelessness determination procedure in Italy: who bears the burden of proof?

    6 May 2015

    The Italian Court of Cassation has recently ruled on a case concerning the statelessness determination procedure (Court of Cassation No. 4262 of 3 March 2015).

    The Court of Cassation reverses a judgment by the Court of Appeal of Rome which refused to recognise the status of stateless person in favor of H.O., a woman of Bosnian origin living in Italy since her birth.

  • The right to a legal identity or the right to a legal ID?

    1 May 2015

    Proposed target 16.9 of the soon-to-be-adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reads: Provide legal identity to all, including birth registration, by 2030. Sounds good! But… what does this actually mean? How can states “provide” legal identity? What is it? If it “includes” birth registration, is that (alone) sufficient or is something else/more needed?

  • Statelessness in Ireland – international obligations and national reality

    22 April 2015

    Ireland has adopted a somewhat incoherent approach in matters related to international conventions.  Sometimes, Ireland will not sign or ratify a convention, for example, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, until it can comply with the relevant obligations.

  • Do stateless people have a right to die?

    15 April 2015

    It was in October last year (2014) when Tereza, the long-term partner of my stateless client, came to my office and said to me: “Roman is in hospital and it is serious, doctors say...“. She started to cry.

    Roman and Tereza had spent over 14 years together, most of that time on the street or in homeless shelters. Tereza is a Slovak citizen. She is almost blind and unable to work because she is severely disabled. Roman was from Kosovo: he had no documents, no residence permit in Slovakia, and therefore no right to get married.

  • Jus Soli: A miraculous solution to prevent statelessness?

    9 April 2015

    Granting nationality at birth to children born on the territory of a country – the “jus soli” principle – is often seen as an effective tool to prevent statelessness. Jus soli has been hardly used in most European countries for centuries, but in recent decades, an increasing number of European states have introduced limited and/or conditional jus soli provisions in their law. This blog piece tries to explore the impact of this development on statelessness prevention and what Europe can learn from other regions in this respect.

  • Thoughts on Strategic Litigation: Can EU law prevent and reduce Roma statelessness in Europe?

    2 April 2015

    The Court of Justice famous weighed in several years ago on the relevance of EU law to situations where EU citizens are made stateless (Case C-135/08, Rottmann).

  • Stateless persons in Iceland, rarer than the Northern Lights?

    25 March 2015

    Iceland, with a population of 322,000 people, is about 1500 kilometers away from its closest neighbor on the European continent. It is a land of volcanoes, geysers, hot pools and the beautiful Northern Lights. Not an easy country to reach, and yet, a number of migrants manage to find their way to the island every year. They come to work or to study, and some come seeking asylum. Are any of them stateless?

  • Informal settlement in central Serbia

    The case of Zoja - I am no longer legally invisible, but I remain invisible in the eyes of the state where I was born and where I have lived for 34 years

    18 March 2015

    There is no doubt that the procedure for determining the time and place of birth established by the Law on Amendments to the Law on Non-Contentious Procedure, constitutes great progress towards solving the...

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