Regional Expert Meetings

Examining the rights of stateless people in different regions

UNHCR has since the beginning of 2010 co-organized regional expert meetings on statelessness in South-east Asia as well as the Middle East and North Africa. In the most recent expert roundtable on the subject, the "Regional Expert Meeting on the Human Rights of Stateless Persons in South-east Asia" was held in Bangkok, Thailand, on October 28-29 .

The meeting provided insights into many of the region's good practices in the identification, prevention and reduction of statelessness and the protection of stateless people. It covered the entire ASEAN (Association of South-east Asian Nations) region, but the discussion focused on Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. The report of the roundtable highlights a number of key experiences that surfaced during the meeting and which could be valuable in shaping further efforts to address statelessness in the region and beyond. The gathering was convened by UNHCR and the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, with funding provided by donors, including the European Commission.

Earlier in 2010, UNHCR and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioners for Human Rights (OHCHR) jointly convened a "Regional Expert Meeting on the Human Rights of Stateless Persons in the Middle East and North Africa" in the Jordanian capital, Amman, on February 18-19, 2010.

Hundreds of thousands of stateless people living in these regions face obstacles to the enjoyment of their human rights and are vulnerable to abuse because they are not considered nationals of any country. Acting on UNHCR's mandate to prevent and reduce statelessness and protect the rights of stateless people, and OHCHR's mandate to promote and protect the human rights of all people, these agencies are joining efforts to resolve statelessness in the MENA region.

Experts at the gathering discussed a wide range of topics, including: how to apply the definition of a stateless person to populations in MENA; the causes of statelessness in the region, good practices examples of programmes and efforts under way to overcome statelessness, particularly with respect to prevention and reduction of statelessness; and solutions for promoting the protection of the human rights of stateless people in MENA.

Recommendations emerging from the meeting set forth strategic options for a forward-looking action plan for both UN agencies and other stakeholders to continue to fight statelessness in MENA and guarantee respect for the human rights of stateless people in the region.

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United Nations Human Rights website

A cooperative effort to protect the human rights of stateless persons (external link).

Stateless People

Millions of stateless people are left in a legal limbo, with limited basic rights.