“Everyone has the right to a nationality”


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

  • Detention of a stateless refugee

    12 September 2013 | Maxim Ferschtman is Senior Legal Adviser on equality and citizenship at the Open Society Justice Initiative

    Stateless people have no country that accepts them as their own. Combine that with a situation of irregular stay, and one has a potentially perpetual risk of being put in immigration detention ‘with a view to expulsion’. Equal Rights Trust has addressed this issue extensively. In its ‘Guidelines to Protect Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention’ ERT underscored: “Most  immigration  detainees  are  nationals  of  another country.

  • Difficulties in Establishing Nationality as a Consequence of Lost Evidence


    Difficulties in proving nationality in Serbia arise even for those persons who have acquired citizenship at birth and had unimpeded access to rights deriving from the citizenship status, but have been left with no evidence on their citizenship. Specifically, after 1999 Kosovo conflict, a significant number of registries recording the facts of birth, citizenship, marriages and deaths of citizens for the municipalities in Kosovo were relocated to central and south Serbia.

  • ENS blog going on holiday for 3 weeks but check out our new facebook page!

    13 August 2013 | ENS

    Just to let you know that the ENS blog will be going on holiday for three weeks but will resume from the beginning of September. Meanwhile you can keep updated or post your own statelessness-related information on our new ENS facebook page. Please do visit and like the page, and encourage others to do so.

  • 2014 Global Forum: A “meeting place” for people concerned about statelessness

    6 August 2013 | Laura van Waas, Senior Researcher and Manager, Statelessness Programme

    In September 2014, Tilburg University and UNHCR will co-host the First Global Forum on Statelessness. Originally, when the idea of organising an event to mark the 60th anniversary of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons was first conceived by the Statelessness Programme at Tilburg Law School, the vision was of a traditional academic conference.

  • Prevention of statelessness at birth – adequate nationality law but inconsistent implementation

    30 July 2013 | Milijana Trifkovic, Legal Analyst, Praxis

    In December 2011, Serbia acceded to the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. The Serbian Law on Citizenship had already been in accordance with this international instrument, and contained appropriate mechanisms aimed at prevention of statelessness at birth. Specifically, Article 13 of the Law on Citizenship of the Republic of Serbia envisages the acquisition of citizenship according to the ius soli principle – by birth in the territory of Serbia for children who would otherwise be stateless.

  • Litigating for the stateless – a bumpy, but steady road upwards

    23 July 2013 | Maxim Ferschtman is Senior Legal Adviser on equality and citizenship at the Open Society Justice Initiative

    Ever wonder why there are so few cases on statelessness before international supervisory bodies and regional courts? The task of browsing through online case-law databases can be completed quickly. Why are there not many cases while the estimate is that there are approximately 12 million stateless persons worldwide? Well, this is partly because it is not an easy area for litigation. As a litigating lawyer I see two main reasons for this.

  • More than a photo op – an opportunity for advocacy with governments on accession

    17 July 2013 | Mark Manly, Senior Legal Coordinator (Statelessness) for UNHCR

    Complaints about the low number of States that are party to the UN statelessness conventions have been a constant feature of international discussions on statelessness for years. We have seen a great deal of progress on this front in the past two years and this post is intended to highlight an upcoming opportunity for treaty action by States which are not yet party – the annual United Nations Treaty Event which will be held during the General Assembly in New York.

  • Legally Invisible, Fighting for Health Care

    9 July 2013 | Tamar Ezer is a Senior Program Officer in the Law and Health Initiative of the Open Society Public Health Program

    Vela does not officially exist.

    Although she has lived in Macedonia all her life, neither she nor her four children have access to health services. Like hundreds of Roma, Vela—whose name has been changed to guard her privacy—is legally invisible.

    Many were caught without legal documents in the transition from the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Their children, in turn, were never registered. The situation is exacerbated by a third generation without birth certificates.

  • Supra-national citizenship: an increasingly powerful tool of protection… and exclusion

    3 July 2013 | Laura van Waas, Senior Researcher and Manager, Statelessness Programme
  • UK Supreme Court Confronts Statelessness in Al-Jedda Case

    26 June 2013 | Laura Bingham is a legal officer working in the equality and citizenship issue area of the Open Society Justice Initiative

    On Thursday, June 27, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom will hear arguments arising from an attempt to denationalize a man suspected of supporting terrorism, in a case which has significance for international law on the question of statelessness. In effect, the British Home Secretary is proposing that an individual with a hypothetical past or future claim to a nationality may not be considered stateless, at least not if the Home Secretary wants to strip that person of British nationality.