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UNHCR and Viet Nam convene discussions to prevent, end statelessness in the region

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UNHCR and Viet Nam convene discussions to prevent, end statelessness in the region

25 October 2023
UNHCR, representatives from eight Southeast Asian countries and international experts attend the roundtable event.

Representatives from UNHCR, eight Southeast Asian countries and international experts attend the roundtable event in Hanoi, Viet Nam.

HANOI – UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, and the Government of Viet Nam today convened the “Southeast Asian Senior Officials’ Roundtable on Civil Registration, Legal Identity Documentation, and the Prevention of Statelessness” to enhance national efforts to address statelessness.

A stateless person does not have a nationality of any country. With 2.5 million registered stateless people in the region, more than half of the world’s stateless people live in Asia.

Countries in Southeast Asia have made important steps towards ending statelessness. These steps are an essential element of national strategies to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, or the Global Goals, set out in the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Roundtable provided an opportunity to share practical experiences and success stories of reducing and preventing statelessness. Representatives from eight Southeast Asian countries and international experts on statelessness participated in the event.

“In today’s constantly transforming world, our responsibility is to come closer to groups of stateless people who are left out of global socio-economic development so that they can enjoy the common achievements of mankind. Therefore, we need to continue to work together more closely to implement solutions to prevent and reduce statelessness on a national, regional and global scale. That will help manage population and migration more effectively and better protect and promote human rights,” said Mr. Nguyen Minh Vu, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam.

The event comes at a timely moment  to gear up engagement across different levels of governments and stakeholders to address statelessness when it is now more than halfway to 2030 since the  launch of the Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015.

“The impact of statelessness in the region on the lives of individuals and the fabric of communities can be devastating. Southeast Asian countries have made remarkable progress in addressing statelessness in recent years, though challenges still remain. I am confident that with the sharing of national success stories and best practices today that Governments will be encouraged to take further steps towards ending statelessness in Southeast Asia,” said Mr. Indrika Ratwatte, UNHCR Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.

Government officials and international experts explored concrete approaches to bring this objective of ending statelessness forward. Topics discussed included how birth registration and legal identity documentation systems can become truly universal, addressing an important risk factor for statelessness in Southeast Asia.

“To address statelessness in the region more effectively, additional, accelerated and targeted action will be essential. Today’s Southeast Asian Senior Officials’ Roundtable explores how national efforts to reach this objective can be increased,” said Mrs. Pauline Temesis, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Viet Nam.

Experts also reviewed links between ending statelessness, poverty eradication, the full realization of the global sustainable development goals, and the progress towards inclusive societies.