Parliamentarians discuss the need to eradicate statelessness in Europe

A joint parliamentary hearing on the need to eradicate statelessness in Europe, with a particular focus on statelessness among children, is to take place on Wednesday 9 April in Strasbourg on the margins of PACE’s spring session, ahead of a plenary debate on this topic.

There are still as many as 680,000 stateless people living in Europe, according to UNHCR estimates – many as a consequence of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, but many can also be found among migrant populations.

The hearing, organised jointly by UNHCR and PACE’s Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons and its Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, takes place on the 60th anniversary of the UN convention on statelessness. It will bring together parliamentarians, UNHCR officials and other representatives of civil society to promote accessions to UN and Council of Europe multilateral treaties in this field.

Participants will also discuss ways to make the acquiring of nationality easier, raise awareness of the need to ensure children are registered at birth and other changes to nationality laws to help reduce the numbers of stateless people.

Later on the same day, the PACE report on access to nationality and the effective implementation of the European Convention on Nationality, prepared by Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC), is due to be debated and approved by the Parliamentary Assembly, making recommendations to states on how to reduce statelessness.