Close sites icon close
Search form

Search for the country site.

Country profile

Country website

Irish Government urged to take action as part of UN campaign to end statelessness 

Press releases

Irish Government urged to take action as part of UN campaign to end statelessness 

23 May 2023
A man stands looking at the clouds in the sky. His torso fades into the scenery.

Stateless people often feel invisible in society. 

DUBLIN - At the launch of its report ‘Mapping Statelessness in Ireland’, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today called on the Irish Government to introduce a new procedure to recognise the rights of stateless persons in Ireland in line with the Agency’s global “I Belong’’ campaign to end statelessness. While Ireland has ratified the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, it has yet to introduce national procedures that would enable people without a nationality to have their status recognised and their rights under the Convention protected.  

Stateless people do not have the nationality of any country. While some people are born stateless, others become stateless for a variety of reasons. These include discrimination or deprivation of nationality by state authorities, gaps in nationality laws, conflicts between the laws of different states or the emergence of new states and changes in borders. As a result, stateless people often have difficulty accessing basic rights, such as individual documentation, education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement. 

“Imagine being unable to access a bank account because you cannot provide a passport, or being denied access to education in the country you grew up in,” said UNHCR’s Head of Office, Enda O’Neill. “Discrimination against stateless people often starts when they are born. By introducing a stateless determination procedure, Ireland has the power to ensure that stateless people here are given recognition, are treated fairly and ultimately have the chance to be fully included in Irish society.” 

Millions of people around the world have no nationality. While in Ireland the number of stateless people is thought to be small, the exact number is unknown since there is no systematic recording of statelessness data in Ireland. For those affected, the absence of a dedicated statelessness procedure can have a devastating impact on their lives. Many of them end up in the asylum process and encounter delays in resolving their situation. Some are left in legal limbo for years with the additional worry of potentially passing statelessness onto their children.  

The research published today demonstrates that the establishment of a dedicated statelessness procedure would allow Ireland to fully meet its obligations under the UN Conventions on Statelessness.