Open Society Justice Initiative. (2006). Human Rghts and Legal Identity: Approaches to Combating Statelessness and Arbitrary Deprivation of Nationality.
I. Introduction: Understanding the Problem
The human right to citizenship1 is under threat as never before. Since the collapse of communism in Europe in 1989, ethnic nationalism has led to the manipulative exclusion of minorities from citizenship in a number of new or successor states. During the same period in Africa, latent ethnic tensions arising from decolonization and state-building, combined with the growing significance of political rights in emerging democracies, have sparked armed conflict and marginalized racial and ethnic minorities. Meanwhile, repressive governments in Asia and the Middle East perpetuate womens inequality through discriminatory citizenship rules and are using the denial or deprivation of nationality as a tool to disenfranchise unpopular ethnic groups. These concurrent phenomena are causing an acute crisis of statelessness at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Yet stateless persons remain the ultimate forgotten people.2