“Everyone has the right to a nationality”

Law & Policy

Despite the scale of the problem, most European countries have no framework to effectively deal with statelessness. This has left many stateless persons vulnerable to discrimination and human rights abuse. Unable to work, receive healthcare, and access social support systems, stateless people in Europe are often destitute and exploited. In many countries, stateless persons are held in immigration detention for long periods – sometimes indefinitely – simply because there is no country to return them to. Breaking the vicious cycle of destitution and detention requires law and policy reform.

What are we doing?

Through its law and policy activities ENS aims to strengthen the often unheard voice of stateless persons in Europe, and to advocate for full respect of their human rights. This work is targeted at three priority areas:

  1. Breaking the cycle of detention and destitution
  2. Improving the identification and protection of stateless persons
  3. Preventing statelessness and discriminatory nationality laws

Working in partnership

ENS works in partnership with other organisations and institutions. We support and encourage international and regional organizations – like the European Union, the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the UN Refugee Agency – to address statelessness within their respective mandates. We urge countries in the region to adopt policies to prevent and reduce statelessness, and to provide protection to stateless persons.

Research and technical support

ENS undertakes research on statelessness as well as nationality law and practices. We believe that the full scope of this problem must be understood – who are the stateless, where are they, and why are they stateless – in order to implement effective policy to resolve the problem.

ENS also builds civil society and government capacity to deal with statelessness. Through technical advice and training aimed at a range of actors we educate policy makers and others about this problem.

For further information about ENS law & policy activities contact ENS Secretariat at info@statelessness.eu

ENS publications

ENS undertakes research to support evidence-based advocacy aimed at preventing statelessness and improving the protection of stateless persons in line with international human rights law.

All ENS reports are written by qualified experts in the field, and the Network enjoys close collaboration with a number of academic institutions such as the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion and the EUDO Observatory on Citizenship.

As well as its detailed research reports, ENS also produces shorter briefings on specific issues to support its awareness-raising work. In addition to the publicly available briefings here, ENS has also been commissioned to produce briefings for internal use by other stakeholders.

Working in partnership with the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion and its member organisations in different countries, ENS also produces submissions to human rights treaty bodies such as the Universal Periodic Review and the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Browse through our publications >>

  • Too often, stateless people

    lead invisible lives – more must be done to identify this vulnerable population