1954 and 1961 Statelessness Conventions


A stateless person is someone who is not recognized by any country as a citizen. Several million people globally are effectively trapped in this legal limbo, enjoying only minimal access to national or international legal protection or to such basic rights as health and education. International conventions on statelessness were established in 1954 (Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons) and 1961 (Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness).

While some refugees may be stateless not all stateless persons are refugees, however statelessness is an issue of concern to UNHCR. In fact in 1974, the U.N. General Assembly asked UNHCR to provide limited legal assistance and in 1996 mandated the agency to broaden its role by promoting the avoidance and reduction of statelessness on a global scale. The same Resolution calls upon States to adopt Nationality legislation with a view of reducing Statelessness, in line with principles of international law in particular by preventing arbitrary deprivation of nationality and requested UNHCR to actively promote the accessions to the Statelessness international Conventions. Recently the Executive Committee of UNHCR expressed concern that some situations of statelessness are of a protracted nature and calls on UNHCR to pay specific attention to them and explore with concerned States measures to ameliorate them and eventually bring them to an end.