“Everyone has the right to a nationality”

#StatelessKids - None of Europe's Children should be Stateless

No child chooses to be stateless! It is a fundamental truth that every child belongs – to this world, to a place and to a community – and this should be recognised through the enjoyment of a nationality. Regrettably statelessness continues to arise because European states are failing to ensure that all children born within Europe’s borders or to European citizen parents acquire a nationality.

It is a problem that is entirely solvable, yet over half of European countries don't have necessary safeguards in place to protect children from statelessness. This is why we are calling on European countries to end childhood statelessness once and for all.

Following the publication of our initial scoping research "Childhood statelessness in Europe: Issues, gaps and good practices" which confirmed the need for concerted action, ENS launched a new region-wide campaign #StatelessKids. The launch corresponded with the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which sets the right of every child to a nationality.

First ever Youth Congress on Statelessness

On 11 July, 50 young ambassadors and ENS member organisations from across Europe came to Brussels for three days of training, strategy development and planning on how to eradicate childhood statelessness. The agenda which includes sessions on working with the media, advocacy and campaigning was designed with input from ENS members, who will also be supporting the young ambassadors in follow-up work after the congress aimed at taking the issue to their national governments.

On the last day, at an event in the European Parliament the young ambassadors (including stateless youth) handed over an online petition with over 18,000 signatures in support of our #StatelessKids campaign, highlighting the need to protect thousands of children in Europe from the scourge of statelessness. The meeting will be hosted by Anna Maria Corazza Bildt MEP and Caterina Chinnici MEP Co-Chairs of the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights and attended by representatives from the Slovak Presidency and other key Brussels stakeholders.

Regional Conference in Budapest

Taking place in Budapest in June 2015, ENS conference represented a central activity of the ENS campaign “None of Europe’s Children should be Stateless” and was a forum for sharing of knowledge on legal, policy and programming interventions that can help to realise children’s right to a nationality. Attended by 100 delegates from 30 European countries it was designed as a venue for scholars, practitioners and policy makers to come together and discuss how to ensure that no more of Europe’s children suffer statelessness.

Report "No Child Should be Stateless"

This ENS report was released as part of its #StatelessKids campaign at a joint launch in Strasbourg with UNHCR with a keynote address by Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. The report draws on comparative research conducted in eight countries, supplemented with analysis of how all 47 Council of Europe states are performing with regard to their international obligation to ensure every child's right to acquire a nationality. It explains why many thousands of children continue to grow up stateless due to gaps in European nationality laws or obstacles preventing birth registration. The report reveals that even among those states that have acceded to relevant international conventions, more than half are still failing to properly implement their obligations to ensure that children acquire a nationality. ENS's research also sheds light on new and emerging cases of childhood statelessness, including the risk faced by children born to refugees and migrants or through surrogacy, adoption or to same sex couples.

ENS launch event in Brussels - No child should be stateless

Roundtable meeting in European Parliament

The Brussels launch of the European Network on Statelessness report “No Child Should be Stateless” was hosted by Jean Lambert MEP. Organised by the European Network on Statelessness with the European Parliament’s Inter Group on Children’s Rights the event took place in European Parliament on 1 December 2015 and included presentations on the role of key stakeholders in addressing childhood statelessness and responses from key European Parliamentarians.