Statelessness and Citizenship

Statelessness and Citizenship

A Comparative Study on the Benefits of Nationality

Edited by Brad K. Blitz and Maureen Lynch

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that there are more than 12 million stateless people in the world. The existence of stateless populations challenges some central tenets of international law and contemporary human rights discourses, yet only a very small number of states have made measurable progress in helping individuals acquire or regain citizenship. This fascinating study examines positive developments in eight countries and pinpoints the benefits of citizenship now enjoyed by formerly stateless persons.

Chapter 11: Summary and Conclusions

Maureen Lynch and Brad K. Blitz

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights


Maureen Lynch and Brad K. Blitz Source: © UNHCR/Greg Constantine 2010. Figure 11.1 In the Cote d’Ivoire, the definition of who is ‘Ivorian’ and who isn’t has influenced issues relating to documentation, nationality, land ownership and voting rights. Many people born of foreign parents or in the north of the country face difficulty claiming their right to nationality. RECOGNIZING AND RESOLVING THE GLOBAL PROBLEM OF STATELESSNESS More than 60 years after the international community embedded the right to nationality in the human rights architecture that we rely on today, approximately 12 million people around the world remain stateless. 194 M2482 - BLITZ PRINT.indd 194 21/12/2010 11:56 Summary and conclusions 195 These are people who struggle to exist, much less enjoy protection of their human dignity. Statelessness also cuts across a host of other issues that operate not just at the level of the state but at the sub-national and global levels. While the global problem of statelessness is commonly associated with political and territorial upheaval, displacement, migration, population growth, trafficking and climate change, it is sustained by the absence of the rule of law and by weak and undemocratic systems of governance. Statelessness is further institutionalized in systemic discrimination in the form of gender inequality and racist and ethnocentric policies. The premise for this study is that, in spite of the challenges noted above and the complex issues that give rise to statelessness, a small number of states have made measurable progress in helping individuals acquire or regain citizenship. The...

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