“Everyone has the right to a nationality”

WEBINAR SERIES - Closing protection gaps: Addressing statelessness


Tuesday 22nd September, 11:00-12:00 CET: Addressing statelessness in Europe

About the webinars

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. You can register your interest in attending by filling out an online form. Please note that registration for all webinars in the series should be completed using this link, and that you are able to select which webinars you would like to attend using the form.

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.

Webinars and speakers

Closing protection gaps: Addressing statelessness in Europe (English)

  Tuesday 22nd September 11.00 - 12:00 CET

This pan-regional webinar on Tuesday 22nd September will host a range of speakers and contributors with expertise from different countries, backgrounds, and specialisms covering themes such as forced migration and statelessness, children’s nationality rights, statelessness determination and protection, promoting the voices of people affected by statelessness, securing the citizenship rights of Romani communities and addressing antigypsyism. ENS members will showcase work being done around Europe and, together with interventions from EU and Council of Europe institutions, will highlight what the EU and the Council of Europe are – or should be - doing to better protect stateless people in our complex and challenging times.

The webinar will be moderated by Nina Murray (Head of Policy and Research, European Network on Statelessness) and confirmed speakers include (with more to be confirmed soon):

Chris Nash

Director, European Network on Statelessness

Lynn Khatib

Individual ENS member and activist, Sweden

Remzi Medik

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

Christiana Bukalo

Individual ENS member & creator of statefree.world, Germany

Yonous Muhammadi

Director, Greek Forum of Refugees

Nina Murray

Head of Policy and Research, European Network on Statelessness

Tineke Strik MEP

Member of the European Parliament

Christophe Poirel

Director of the Human Rights Directorate at the Council of Europe

Addressing statelessness in Spain (Spanish webinars)

23 September, 11-12 (CET): Statelessness Index: A tool for addressing statelessness in Spain

30 September, 11-12 (CET): Statelessness and Asylum in Spain: Towards a comprehensive international protection law that includes statelessness

7 October, 11-12 (CET): Access to Spanish Citizenship for Stateless People: A required Civil Code reform on naturalisation

The following three webinars will focus on addressing statelessness in Spain, looking at the Statelessness Index as a tool for analysing and addressing statelessness in the national context, moving towards a comprehensive international protection law that includes statelessness, and reforming the national Civil Code to improve access to a nationality for stateless people in Spain. For more information on these webinars, visit the dedicated web page (in Spanish).