The consequences of statelessness are severe. They include limited or no access to public services such as education and health care, and an inability to travel, own property, marry, inherit, or work legally for lack of legal status. Stateless persons also do not enjoy basic political rights, such as voting or running for public office.
The United Nations General Assembly has entrusted UNHCR with a global mandate to identify, prevent and reduce statelessness and to protect stateless persons. In November 2014, UNHCR launched a Global Campaign to bring an end to statelessness by 2024 (#IBelong Campaign) by resolving existing situations and preventing the emergence of new cases of statelessness. As part of the campaign, UNHCR in consultation with interested governments, civil society and other international organizations developed a Global Action Plan (GAP) establishing a guiding framework of 10 actions to be undertaken by states, with the support of UNHCR and other stakeholders, to reach the goal of ending statelessness within ten years.
In light of this goal, UNHCR Lebanon works with the Government, civil society and other UN agencies and relevant institutions to:
- Prevent new cases of statelessness through the promotion of birth registration, particularly among vulnerable populations including refugees;
- Address existing causes of statelessness in Lebanon through the provision of technical support to ensure that legislation relevant to statelessness is in line with international standards; and
- Support durable solutions for individual stateless persons by promoting access to available legal remedies and enhancing their protection environment.