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Teaching about statelessness

Millions of people around the world are denied a nationality. Having no nationality often means you cannot go to school, see a doctor, get a job, open a bank account, buy a house or even get married.  People who do not have the nationality of any country are called stateless.

Stateless people may have difficulty accessing basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement. Without these things, they can face many obstacles and disappointments throughout their life.  

On this UNHCR Teaching About Statelessness page you will find free-of-charge and adaptable UNHCR teaching materials on statelessness. Use and combine these materials as you see fit in your lessons about the topic.  

Words matter

Statelessness is a complex subject. Understanding it begins with understanding a few basics. Stateless people are no refugees, but there are cases where they can be if they are forced to flee wars, violence and persecution. Many, however, have been living in their countries of residence for many years, if not their entire lives.  

Watch these explainer animations yourself as a preparation for your lesson or training. Choose which sections you need and use them in your lesson plans as well. The animations are suitable for use as teaching materials for pupils age 12 and over.

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Who are stateless people? 

Stateless people do not have the nationality of any country.


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Causes of statelessness

Statelessness is complex and can have many causes. Find out how people become stateless.  


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Consequences of statelessness

Imagine being unable to go to school, see a doctor, get a job or even get married. These are some of the potential consequences of statelessness.


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Rights of stateless people  

Some international laws and regulations give stateless people fundamental rights. Learn more about the rights of stateless people.


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Who helps stateless people?  

UNHCR has a mandate to help stateless people. But a lot of other organizations assist stateless people, too. Find out who they are. 


More on statelessness - #IBelong videos

Watch stateless girl Rama's story in UNHCR's video

Watch the UNHCR video 'iBelong'

Watch Selma's story in UNHCR Croatia's video 'iBelong'

Teaching materials

Here, you can find teaching materials on statelessness for all age groups in higher primary and secondary education.  

Given the complexity of statelessness as a subject, we recommend to start teaching from the age of 9.