WEBINAR SERIES - Closing protection gaps: Addressing statelessness

Events
Online
22 September 2020 13:00 - 14:00 CEST

Following the postponement of our major regional conference in Alicante, this Autumn we will be organising a webinar series in partnership with our member Fundación Cepaim. 

These online events will seek to shine a light on the key issues faced by stateless people in Europe today. Topics addressed will include forced migration, children’s nationality rights, stateless status determination and routes to regularisation, as well as discrimination, antigypsyism and other causes of statelessness among in situ populations.

Crucially, the webinar series is intended to facilitate a shared online space where stateless people, activists, community representatives, NGOs, and decision-makers can contribute their ideas and start to together identify routes to necessary reform. On 22nd September, a regional webinar (in English) setting out the current state of affairs across Europe, will showcase work being done by ENS members around Europe as well as highlighting what the EU and the Council of Europe are – or should be - doing to better protect stateless people in our complex and challenging times. Following this, a series of online discussions (in Spanish) will assess and address statelessness in Spain, outlining specific opportunities for law and policy reform in the national context.

The webinar series is aimed at a range of different stakeholders working on statelessness and asylum, migration, and minority rights across Europe, and in Spain. This will include lawyers, NGOs, stateless activists, refugee community representatives, academics, representatives of regional institutions, governments, inter-governmental organisations, ombudspersons and monitoring bodies. Please note that the first webinar (pan-regional) will take place in English, whilst the remaining three webinars (focused on Spain) will take place in Spanish.

Speakers

Chris Nash

Chris Nash

Director, European Network on Statelessness

Lynn Khatib

Lynn Khatib

Individual ENS member and activist, Sweden

Christophe Poirel

Christophe Poirel

Director for Human Rights, Council of Europe

Remzi Medik

Remzi Medik

President, Bairska Svetlina – Centre for Development of Roma Community, North Macedonia

About the issue

A stateless person is someone who has no nationality, someone who is not recognised as a citizen by any State. Statelessness affects over half a million people in Europe – both people on the move and those who have lived in the same place for generations – denying many their fundamental rights. Its causes include state succession, gaps in nationality laws, discrimination, displacement, and nationality stripping. Stateless people are among those most impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic and will be among those most affected by its fallout unless their specific circumstances and views are considered and acted upon.

Despite the extent of the problem, many States still lack robust policies to address statelessness. Critically, only a handful of countries in Europe have a dedicated statelessness determination procedure to identify people on their territory without a nationality and to offer appropriate protection status (including residence and other rights under the 1954 Convention) and subsequent naturalisation. Moreover, recent data shows that statelessness is a growing problem that needs to be addressed as part of Europe’s refugee response. According to Eurostat, 112,535 people who applied for asylum in the European Union* in 2015-2019 were recorded as ‘stateless’ or of ‘unknown nationality’.

Accessing different routes to protection can be more difficult for stateless people due to their marginalisation and lack of documentation. Stateless refugees and migrants are often wrongly assigned a nationality by officials at registration based on their country of origin or language or may be recorded as having ‘unknown’ nationality. The result can be a failure to identify (and prevent) the risk of statelessness among children born in exile, or barriers to protection, family reunification and naturalisation. A stateless person with no right to residence often has no country they can return to, so if their statelessness is not identified, they can face repeated, futile removal attempts and prolonged detention.

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