UNHCR commends the Republic of the Congo’s commitment to end statelessness
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, applauds the Government and people of the Republic of the Congo for its recent accession to the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
In a country with a population of nearly 6 million, approximately 200,000 individuals have been identified by the government as being at risk of statelessness. In 2019, the country formally pledged to sign these pivotal conventions during UNHCR's Executive Committee meeting.
Four years later, the Republic of Congo finalized the accession process on 10 October 2023, making the country the 97th State party to the 1954 Convention and the 79th State party to the 1961 Convention.
“The Republic of the Congo’s accession to these conventions is a commendable achievement and a testament to the country’s unwavering commitment to eradicating statelessness, which has devasting effects on the lives of millions across the world,” said Gillian Triggs, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection. “The Republic of the Congo has set an example for other countries in Africa. The plight of millions of stateless people can be resolved through political will and legislative changes.”
UNHCR works closely with the Congolese government to prevent and resolve statelessness issues and remains ready to support the Republic of the Congo in bringing the two conventions into full effect. As part of UNHCR’s support to the government’s effort to enhance civil registration systems to address statelessness across the country, more than 30,300 birth certificates have been delivered to people at risk of statelessness since 2018, including 5,300 to highly at-risk indigenous people.
Today, millions of people around the world are denied a nationality. UNHCR reported over 4.4 million people as being stateless or of undetermined nationality in 95 countries in 2022. Without nationality, stateless people are prevented from fully accessing their human rights and participating in society – from accessing education, health-care or the formal job market, to freedom of movement or the right to vote, among others.
In 2014, UNHCR launched the UNHCR global #IBelong campaign which aims to end statelessness. Since its launch, 23 states have acceded to one or both of the statelessness conventions, signaling strengthened political will to end statelessness. Tens of thousands of people across Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas now have a pathway to citizenship as a result of newly enacted legislative changes.