statelessness conventions in West Africa

UNHCR hails accessions to

Mali and Sierra Leone step up prevention from cradle to grave.

Two additional countries have formally decided to adhere to international treaties that help keep stateless people from falling into legal limbo – a sign that the global #IBelong Campaign to End Statelessness by 2024 is gaining momentum. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the decisions by Sierra Leone and Mali to join the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. Ending statelessness will help countries in Africa and around the globe ensure that they achieve sustainable development that leaves no one behind.

Mauritanian refugees born in Mali like this girl had been at risk of statelessness.

Mauritanian refugees born in Mali like this girl had been at risk of statelessness. © UNHCR/L. Martens.

With the two West African states the 1954 Convention will have 88 states parties and the 1961 Convention 67 states parties. More are expected to follow, as the Member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) committed in February 2015 to accede to the statelessness conventions.

At least 10 million people worldwide are currently stateless and a child is born stateless every 10 minutes. Without a nationality, stateless people are often denied basic rights and services normally afforded to citizens, such as access to healthcare and education. UNHCR urges states and civil society to work together to prevent and respond to statelessness based on the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness, a centrepiece of UNHCR´s #IBelong Campaign.

Please sign our Open Letter today to End Statelessness by 2024:

Sign the Open Letter

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