50th anniversary of Reduction of Statelessness Convention

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards to whom quoted text may be attributed at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. But with so few states party to this treaty - just 38 of the UN's 193 member states - there is little cause for celebration. Millions of people around the world continue to suffer the consequences of not having a nationality. And in an age of increasing labour mobility, for many people, children in particular, the risks of losing one's nationality are growing.

Five days ago UNHCR launched a global campaign to combat statelessness. We expect that a number of States will either accede to the two Statelessness conventions this year or pledge to do so at a ministerial-level meeting of UN member states being held in Geneva in December [the two conventions are the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness]. Nonetheless we are today repeating our call to governments, advocates, media, and individuals for a redoubling of efforts so that more states sign on to the statelessness conventions, reform nationality laws, and resolve the problem. Everyone should have a nationality: It is a fundamental right.

For further information on this topic, please contact:

  • In Geneva: Adrian Edwards on mobile +41 79 557 91 20
  • Sybella Wilkes on mobile +41 79 557 91 38
  • Vivian Tan on mobile +41 79 881 91 74