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Stateless - UNHCR Actions

How UNHCR Helps the Stateless

Through a series of resolutions beginning in 1994, the UN General Assembly gave UNHCR the formal mandate to prevent and reduce statelessness around the world, as well as to protect the rights of stateless people. Twenty years earlier, the Assembly had asked UNHCR to provide assistance to individuals under the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

UNHCR's governing Executive Committee provided guidance on how to implement this mandate in a "Conclusion on the Identification, Prevention and Reduction of Statelessness and the Protection of Stateless Persons" issued in 2006. This requires the agency to work with governments, other UN agencies and civil society to address the problem. UNHCR activities in the field are grouped into four categories.

  • Identification: Gather information on statelessness, its scope, causes and consequences
  • Prevention: Address the causes of statelessness and promote accession to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness
  • Reduction: Support legislative changes and improvements to procedures to allow stateless people to acquire a nationality and help individuals take advantage of these changes
  • Protection: Intervene to help stateless people to exercise their rights and promote accession to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.


Identification of statelessness goes far beyond acquiring statistics on stateless populations.


The easiest and most effective way to deal with statelessness is to prevent it from occurring in the first place.


Reduction of statelessness means finding a durable solution for people caught in statelessness situations.


To overcome the numerous difficulties these people of concern face in their daily lives.

Working with Partners

We work with governments, civil society and aid organizations to address statelessness.




Statelessness Documents on Refworld

Documents highlighting good practices to address statelessness are available in Refworld