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Stateless Actions - Protection

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Protecting the stateless is about helping governments and non-governmental organizations to overcome the numerous difficulties these people of concern face in their daily lives. UNHCR lobbies countries to ratify the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, which commits them to grant stateless people the same rights as foreigners or, in some areas, with nationals. More than 60 countries are currently party to the Convention. Stateless people are also protected under general human rights treaties, and UNHCR uses all these international standards when advocating for better treatment of the stateless.

A key element of protection is ensuring that stateless people are recognized as such by the countries in which they reside, otherwise they are often not able to enjoy all the rights to which they are entitled. UNHCR provides advice to governments on how to implement status determination procedures.

In some cases, UNHCR also gives direct assistance to stateless people, frequently through non-governmental organization partners. Such efforts are aimed at promoting the integration of stateless people and full enjoyment of their rights. The refugee agency also helps in individual cases, for instance where a person is being detained for reasons relating to the fact that they are stateless.

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Statelessness Documents on Refworld

Refworld contains a wealth of documents related to statelessness, including legal, policy and background information. Read more.

Statelessness Determination Procedures and the Status of Stateless Persons

Summary conclusions of the expert meeting convened by UNHCR and the Open Society Justice Initiative, Geneva, Switzerland, 6-7 December 2010.

UN Conventions on Statelessness

The two UN statelessness conventions are the key legal instruments in the protection of stateless people around the world.