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Statement by UNHCR on the arbitrary deprivation of nationality by Nicaragua

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Statement by UNHCR on the arbitrary deprivation of nationality by Nicaragua

17 February 2023

Geneva – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is seriously concerned by the arbitrary deprivation of the Nicaraguan nationality of over 300 people.

The recent legislative reforms in Nicaragua allowing for citizenship-stripping on arbitrary grounds run contrary to Nicaragua’s obligations under international and regional human rights law. International law prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of nationality including on racial, ethnic, religious or political grounds. The exercise of fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of assembly or other rights associated with a person’s political views, can never justify the deprivation of nationality.

UNHCR calls on Nicaragua, which is a party to both the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, to respect its international obligations to ensure the enjoyment of the right to nationality and to take measures to prevent and eradicate statelessness.

In addition to its mandate to protect refugees, UNHCR is mandated by the UN General Assembly to identify and protect stateless people, including stateless refugees, and to prevent and reduce statelessness. In 2014, as part of the IBelong Campaign to End Statelessness, UNHCR launched a Global Action Plan, which among other things, calls on States to “prevent denial, loss or deprivation of nationality on discriminatory grounds.”

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