What does it mean to be stateless?


Today at least 10 million people world-wide are stateless.

They are fighting for the same basic human rights that the most of us take for granted. Often they are excluded from cradle to grave— being denied a legal identity when they are born, access to education, health care, marriage and job opportunities during their lifetime and even the dignity of an official burial and a death certificate when they die. Many pass on the curse of statelessness on to their children, who then pass it on to the next generation.

The irony is that these people find themselves stateless through no fault of their own-and in most cases their condition could be resolved through minor changes in existing laws. UNHCR has an international mandate to prevent and reduce statelessness.

Help us ensure everyone has the right to a nationality

Key Documents

Global Action Plan to End Statelessness: 2014 – 2024

In a world comprised of States, the problem of statelessness remains a glaring anomaly with devastating impacts on the lives of at least 10 million people around the world who live without any nationality.

Special Report: Ending Statelessness Within 10 Years

Stateless people are found in all parts of the globe — Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas—entire communities, new-born babies, children, couples and older people.