Briefing Notes, 7 June 2011
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at the press briefing, on 7 June 2011, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR applauds the decision of Panama to accede on June 3rd to the two major international conventions on statelessness, namely the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
Achieving an increased number of states parties to the UN Statelessness Conventions is key to addressing statelessness, a problem which affects up to 12 million people around the world.
The 1954 convention, which now has 66 parties, establishes minimum standards of treatment for stateless persons and is designed to ensure that they are not left in legal limbo. The 1961 convention, which now has 38 state parties, is designed to prevent statelessness from occurring and thereby reduce it over time, mainly by requiring that states put in place safeguards in nationality laws such by requiring that people cannot renounce their nationality without first having acquired another.
Panama is the first state to accede since UNHCR launched a drive for this year's 50th anniversary of the 1961 Convention to have more states become parties. It is our hope that this accession will encourage more states to follow suit over the coming months.
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