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UN Conventions on Statelessness

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Key for Protecting the Stateless

The 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness are key legal instruments in the protection of stateless people around the world and in the prevention and reduction of statelessness. While they are complemented by regional treaty standards and international human rights law, the two statelessness conventions are the only global conventions of their kind.

The conventions attracted relatively few ratifications or accessions for decades. So, in 2011, to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Convention, UNHCR launched a major campaign to promote accession to the two statelessness treaties. The campaign quickly produced results. There have been 33 accessions since the campaign was launched. In order of accession: Panama (1954 and 1961 Conventions); Nigeria (1954 and 1961); Philippines (1954); Croatia (1961); Serbia (1961); Turkmenistan (1954); Benin (1954 and 1961); Georgia (1954); Bulgaria (1954 and 1961); Moldova (1954 and 1961); Burkina Faso (1954); Paraguay (1961); Turkmenistan (1961); Ecuador (1961); Honduras (1954); Portugal (1954 and 1961); Honduras (1961); Jamaica (1961); Ukraine (1954 and 1961); Nicaragua (1954); Lithuania (1961); Nicaragua (1961); Cote d’Ivoire (1954 and 1961); Montenegro (1961) and Peru (1954).

This increased the number of state parties to the 1954 Convention from 65 to 80 and the number of state parties to the 1961 Convention from 37 to 55.

Further good news came at UNHCR's landmark ministerial conference in Geneva from December 7-8, 2011, when more than 30 national governments made pledges to accede to one or more of the statelessness conventions in the near future. This momentum towards accessions will further buttress the international legal framework for the prevention and reduction of statelessness and for the protection of stateless people around the world.

For more history on the 1954 and 1961 Statelessness Conventions, please visit the United Nations Audiovisual Archive of International Law at:
http://untreaty.un.org/cod/avl/historicarchives.html#refugees

1954 Convention


1961 Convention


Maps

Parties to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness

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