The United National Refugee Agency (UNHCR), has welcomed a landmark decision by Haiti and Spain to join international agreements to counter statelessness – a situation faced by millions of people deprived of basic rights because they are not considered as nationals by any State.
We applaud Spain and Haiti for taking this big step and choosing to offer hope for a brighter future to people who will now have access to basic rights that most of us take for granted,” Volker Türk, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, said.
Haiti’s decision to accede to the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness was marked formally at an event here on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly on Friday .
Spain, which was already party to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, adhered to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness on 25 September. The country also established a national statelessness status determination procedure in 2001 and has amended its legislation to help avoid new statelessness cases.
According to the UNHCR, statelessness can occur for several reasons, including discrimination against particular ethnic or religious groups, or on the basis of gender; the emergence of new States, transfers of territory between existing States and gaps in nationality laws. Whatever the cause, statelessness has serious consequences for people in almost every country and in all regions of the world.
UNHCR in 2014 launched the #IBelong Campaign and the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness: 2014-2024 to raise global awareness about statelessness and support efforts around the world to end it.
This action by Haiti and Spain brings to 20 the number of new accessions to the UN Statelessness Conventions since the launch of the Campaign.