Caia Vlieks graduated cum laude in International and European Public Law and is a student of the Research Master in Law at Tilburg Law School. She has conducted an analysis of Dutch “no fault” case files with a view to discovering to what extent statelessness plays a role in the decision-making and has written her Master’s Thesis on the extent to which the European Convention on Human Rights obliges states to determine statelessness. Her future research will focus on the protection of stateless persons and the prevention of statelessness by the legal framework of the Council of Europe.Caia Vlieks website
Karel Hendriks is an Associate Protection Officer for UNHCR in Iraq, exclusively focusing on statelessness. He is responsible for the overall UNHCR strategy on statelessness in Iraq, including the development of a mapping study to quantify and analyze the stateless population in the country. Prior to his posting in Baghdad, Karel worked for UNHCR in the Netherlands, co-authoring the report “Mapping statelessness in the Netherlands”, which provided a demographic, social and legal analysis of statelessness in the Netherlands. The report’s qualitative findings were based on 25 in-depth interviews with stateless persons. Karel holds a BSc in Anthropology, a MSc in Political Science and an Advanced Master in International Development.
Katja Swider is a PhD researcher at the University of Amsterdam, writing about the contemporary challenges of statelessness determination in Europe. She has an LLM degree in European Law from Leiden University and an LLM in Legal Research from University of Utrecht. In addition to her academic work, Katja cooperates closely with non-academic actors to address statelessness in the Netherlands. She organizes workshops, presents her findings to policy makers, and provides expert knowledge to legal practitioners. Her most recent project is on the potential role of the EU in shaping national statelessness determination procedures.
Michelle van Burik
Michelle is advocacy coordinator of Roma Utrecht & Roma Advocacy Network Netherlands. Her experience is built on the help given in individual cases as well on the political lobbying conducted on the statelessness issue. Next to this, grassroots mobilisation and community engagement are focused on including raising awareness on the effects of antigypsyism related to statelessness. She is active at local, national and European level.
I have been working as a humanitarian worker for almost 10 years with different organizations starting with UNHCR in Syria as a case worker and then as a senior child protection officer . As a Palestinian refugee living in Syria it was hard to live within the bad security situation during the war so the only option I had is to flee to Netherlands where I was considered a stateless. Being identified as a stateless person was not easy and made me think that we should pay more attention to this group and identify the risks and problems for this group and trying to find solution and make more awareness among the communities about it. Especially that whenever I am asked about the status on my residence permit and and I say it is stateless people have no idea what it means . in my point of view , there should be more awareness about statelessness as a legal term and then more deep in assessment for stateless people to tackle the issues they face in the country of asylum.
Recently my activities has been with NEW WOMEN CONNECTORS and vluchtelingenwerk Eindhoven and this issue of statelessness is one of things that I am dealing with.
René De Groot
René De Groot is Professor of Comparative Law and Private International Law in Maastricht, Aruba and Hasselt. He studied Law at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (Netherlands) and at the Westfälische Wilhelmsuniversität Münster (Germany). Since 1982, he has taught Private Law, Comparative Law and Private International Law at Maastricht University, where he obtained the degree of Doctor iuris and was later appointed as Professor. He has published extensively on comparative law, private international law, legal education, problems of legal translation, the law of property and nationality law. He is a consortium member of the European Union Democracy Observatory on Citizenship, contributing a number of comparative studies of nationality legislation, including on birthright citizenship. He has worked closely with the Council of Europe in the development of regional standards relating to the regulation of nationality, including in the role of Scientific Expert of the Council of Europe’s Group of Specialists on Nationality. He recently prepared a paper on ‘Preventing Statelessness among Children: Interpreting Articles 1-4 of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and Relevant International Human Rights Norms’ for UNHCR, helping to guide an Expert Meeting on the same question in May 2011.