Discrimination on the basis of ethnicity; race; religion; age; sex; gender; disability; language; or sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) is a cause of statelessness. Direct or indirect discrimination on these grounds is currently found in the nationality laws of more than 80 countries. The risks of statelessness associated with discriminatory nationality laws are underscored by the fact that more than 75% of the world’s known stateless populations belong to ethnic, religious or linguistic minority groups.
This background note provides an overview of discrimination in nationality laws, and complements the UNHCR background note on gender discrimination in nationality laws. The note does not purport to be a comprehensive overview of all discrimination issues related to nationality law and practice, but simply aims to provide relevant examples.