Asia governments to attend high level meeting in Bangkok on ending statelessness

Government officials from over 15 countries in the Asia and Pacific region are attending a high level meeting in Bangkok, hosted by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and supported by the Royal Thai Government, aimed at ending statelessness.

The two-day event is aimed at showcasing steps being taken by governments in the Asia and Pacific region to try to identify, prevent and reduce statelessness and protect stateless persons, including legal and policy reforms, sharing best practices and successes, including cross-border collaborations, and discussing steps to overcome challenges and initiatives being undertaken.

Government officials will also discuss and identify possible pledges of action that they plan to take  ahead of a global high level meeting on ending statelessness, to be held in Geneva in October.

The Bangkok event comes almost halfway through UNHCR’s 10-year #IBelong Campaign to End Statelessness.   “More than half the world’s known stateless are in Asia”, said UNHCR’s Special Advisor on Statelessness, Carol Batchelor, who is attending the event.  “But equally, we have seen a lot of progress in this region.  Governments are really stepping up efforts to end statelessness and provide people with the right to a nationality.

“Millions of people around the world are stateless. Yet statelessness is largely preventable and with political will, it is solvable”, she added.

People who are not formally recognised as a national of any State under the operation of its laws are considered stateless. Being denied a legal identity causes suffering from cradle to grave.

Over the last five years, thousands of people in Asia, who formerly had no nationality, have been granted citizenship due to concerted efforts by governments.

People who are stateless are oftentimes denied basic rights.  They could face great difficulties accessing education, health care and job opportunities all through life.  In some cases, they are not able to register marriages, move freely, own property, or work.  They may even be denied an official burial and a death certificate.


The two day meeting takes place at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel, Bangkok, 30-31 May, 0900-1730.

Speakers include Tuenjai Deetes, Thailand’s National Human Rights Commissioner (Thursday, 30 May 11.00am) and Nampeung Panya (Friday, 31 May 10.00am)

For more information about UNHCR’s #IBelong Campaign

Media contacts:

In Bangkok:
Caroline Gluck, [email protected], +66 81 827 0280
Jennifer Harrison, [email protected], +66 822 908 831

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