Protecting the rights of stateless persons: The 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
Nationality is a legal bond between a person and a State. Nationality provides people with a sense of identity but, more importantly, enables them to exercise a wide range of rights. The lack of any nationality, statelessness, can therefore be harmful, in some cases devastating to the lives of the individuals concerned.
Despite international recognition of the right to a nationality, new cases of statelessness have continued to arise. Tackling statelessness still poses a major challenge in the 21st century. There are at least 10 million stateless people around the world today.
While some stateless persons are refugees at the same time, most are not. Stateless persons who are also refugees are entitled to the international protection afforded by the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (“1951 Convention”). To address the protection problems faced by stateless persons, in particular those who are not refugees, the international community adopted the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (“1954 Convention”). This treaty aims to regulate the status of stateless persons and to ensure the widest possible enjoyment of their human rights. The Convention complements provisions of international human rights treaties.