Secretary-General's message in support of UNHCR's Campaign to End Statelessness in Ten Years Geneva, Switzerland, 4 November 2014
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that nationality is a basic right of all individuals. Yet more than ten million members of the human family are stateless, told they do not belong.
Without nationality, stateless people are often deprived of other basic human rights, such as going to school, getting a job, getting married or registering the birth of a child. They are sentenced to a life of marginalization and invisibility.
It seems unimaginable that millions of people can be told they don't exist. To right this wrong, UNHCR has launched an ambitious campaign to end statelessness in ten years. UNHCR's plan of action sets out a clear path to end this injustice. But UNHCR cannot do it alone; we need champions from every sector.
I encourage people across the world to sign UNHCR's open letter to end statelessness. The goal is ten million signatures to help change ten million lives.
Sixty years ago, world leaders adopted the UN Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons to address the global challenges of statelessness. Today, it is time to end statelessness itself.