Research Paper Competition for Students on Nationality and Statelessness

Background and context

Millions of people around the world are denied a nationality and the legal rights endowed with it. They do not exist on paper and most often live on the fringes of society. Without citizenship, stateless people often do not have access to essential services, including healthcare. At such a critical time, in the middle of a global pandemic, they are at great risk of being left behind in the response. Stateless people may be precluded from or face obstacles in accessing coronavirus testing and treatment, others may refrain from accessing services for fear that their legal status can put them at risk of detention or deportation.

Without legal rights and access to services, statelessness leaves many politically and economically marginalized, discriminated against and vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. In many countries across the world, stateless people live in sub-standard and inadequate sanitary conditions which can compound the risk of outbreaks. Limited by their legal status, many work in informal sectors, which can also hamper adherence to public health protocols such as self-isolation and physical distancing.

“This virus is exposing both the devastating consequences of statelessness and the urgency of the need to resolve it. The right to a nationality is a fundamental human right and in this time of crisis it can mean the difference between life or death,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Objective of the Research Paper Competition

The main objective of the competition is to stimulate scientific research of students, at undergraduate and graduate levels, on matters of statelessness for the identification of innovative solutions in overcoming these unprecedented challenges.

Competition Task

Papers may address topics related to nationality and statelessness matters, interconnected socio-economic rights, including the consequences of COVID-19 pandemic and post-COVID-19 innovative solutions for streamlining the reduction and prevention of statelessness, protection of stateless persons and achieving the ultimate goal of statelessness eradication by 2024.

Eligibility and Requirements

  • Student authors must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at an accredited university in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan at the time of submission.
  • Papers must be written solely by the candidate, in English or Russian, and may not have been submitted for publication elsewhere.
  • Submissions may range from 5,000 to 6,000 words, including footnotes.
  • Each candidate is limited to a single submission.
  • Each submission is limited to a single author.

Deadline, Method of Submission, Competition Procedures and Criteria

The deadline for submissions is 11:59 PM (GMT+6), 7 August 2020.

Applicants should complete a registration form and send it together with the research paper in Microsoft Word format attachment to email: [email protected] with the subject line “Regional Statelessness Research Paper Competition 2020”. Questions should be directed to the same address.

By submitting papers, candidates represent that they fulfil the eligibility requirements of the Competition. The organizers may request formal proof of eligibility.

No later than 72 hours after the submission deadline, candidates will receive an e-mail confirming that their submissions have been received.

Competition Procedures and Selection Criteria

For anonymity purpose all eligible submissions will be assigned numbers.

Reviewers will refer only to those numbers in their communications.

The Competition will be judged by a reviewing committee made of representatives of UNHCR, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University and the Central Asian Network on Statelessness (CANS).

In assessing papers, reviewers will take into account:

  • Demonstrated understanding of the context, knowledge of facts and law (30%);
  • Extent of research, innovation, and scholarly creativity (30%);
  • Proper and articulate analysis, feasibility of the idea (20%);
  • Clarity and organization (10%);
  • Style, grammar, and proper citation of sources (10%).

Competition Prize and Announcement of the Winners

–  1st place – a laptop;

–   2nd place – a tablet;

–   3rd place – a smartphone.

A message announcing the name of the winner of the First Regional Student Research Paper Competition on Nationality and Statelessness will be published on UNHCR Central Asia and partners websites and social media accounts. An e-mail with the final outcome will also be sent to all who submitted papers.