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UNHCR lauds Chile as it accedes to both UN Conventions on Statelessness

Briefing notes

UNHCR lauds Chile as it accedes to both UN Conventions on Statelessness

17 April 2018

Chile has become the latest State to accede to the international conventions on statelessness. Last week, Chile formally deposited at the United Nations Treaty Office in New York the instruments of accession to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the country’s commitment to protect and promote the fundamental right to nationality. Without a nationality people can be denied the ability to enroll in school, access medical services, seek legal employment or even get married.

Statelessness affects millions of people around the world and UNHCR is promoting its eradication. Chile’s accession to the two conventions represents an important step towards that goal.

Chile’s determination in fighting statelessness is also demonstrated by a project known as Chile Reconoce - currently being implemented in the country.

An estimated 2,000 children are still at risk of statelessness in Chile. Because of an administrative interpretation of the Constitutional norm, when they were born these children were denied the right to access Chilean nationality, as their parents were considered in an irregular migratory situation. In 2014, the authorities modified the interpretation to meet international human rights standards.

Two years later, in 2016, the project Chile Reconoce was launched, in order to identify and assist all those affected by the pre-2014 legal interpretation. To date, 258 children have had their Chilean nationality confirmed through this collaborative initiative of the State, UNHCR, UNICEF and civil society.

Chile is the 90th State to accede to the 1954 Convention and the 71st to accede to the 1961 Convention. The 1954 Convention seeks to ensure that stateless people enjoy a minimum set of rights until they can acquire a nationality. The 1961 Convention sets out the ways to prevent individuals from becoming stateless and reduce the prevalence of statelessness over time.


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