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UNHCR welcomes the Conclusions of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council on Statelessness

Press releases

UNHCR welcomes the Conclusions of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council on Statelessness

4 December 2015

The UNHCR Director of the Bureau for Europe, Vincent Cochetel, welcomed the adoption of the first EU Council Conclusions on statelessness, on 4 December 2015, which acknowledge the importance of identifying stateless persons and strengthening their protection.

"By adopting the Conclusions, the Council took a significant step forward towards a comprehensive approach to statelessness in the European Union" said Cochetel "Adopting new statelessness determination procedures and improving the existing ones is instrumental to identify and reduce the number of stateless people, strengthen their protection and eliminate the risk of discrimination against them."

Among other provisions, the Conclusions invite the European Commission to launch exchanges of good practises among Member States and encourage the active coordination of national contact points, through the European Migration Network. In addition, the Council welcomes the UNHCR 10-year #IBELONG campaign to end statelessness by 2024.

UNHCR estimates that there are more than 600,000 stateless people living in Europe, over 400,000 in the European Union. "In particular, conflict and displacement are placing children at greater risk of statelessness." added Cochetel "This is due to a combination of factors, including difficulties in acquiring birth certificates, increased family separation, gaps and gender discrimination in nationality laws and inadequate civil registration in countries of birth, including in Europe."

UNHCR calls on Member States to actively identify and protect stateless persons and those at risk of statelessness, and welcomes the active role of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union in putting statelessness on the EU's agenda. UNHCR looks forward to continuing working with European institutions in this respect.

  • For more information on this topic, please contact:
  • In Brussels, Michele Poletto at +32 474 96 2959