Revisiting the International protection regime on statelessness

Shiblak. A. (2009). Revisiting the International protection regime on statelessness. IASFM Conference. 12.


This paper seeks to examine the present international protection regime for stateless persons and assess its effectiveness in the light of the developments since its inception. What have become clear is the widened gap in perception and concept of statelessness between the established liberal democracies that was the main power in formulating the international protection regime on refugees and statelessness as we know at present and the realities of what statelessness means in most of the developing countries.

Unlike the developing countries that still link the entitlement of rights to nationality rather than residence, the liberal democracies have moved away from the old notion of statelessness as residency and not nationality become the determinant factor or the key for people to enjoy other rights. With mass displacement as a result of increasing number of armed conflicts and ethnic tensions worldwide especially in developing countries, the phenomenon of statelessness seems on the increase. The restrictive nationality and residency laws in most of these countries laws exacerbate the phenomena and with it the human misery for millions of stateless communities.

The present regime seems to be out of date and unable to respond to the realties of this global phenomenon, which is increasingly becoming a southern phenomenon leaving the stateless persons effectively less protected than the refugees. This was acknowledged more than two decades ago by UNHCR, yet as the problem seems to be far from the developed world’s borders, it attracts very little attention or urgency.

The paper will examine the shortcomings in the present international regime on statelessness. It will assess states response as well as efforts made by the UNHCR and other regional organisations to reduce statelessness. It seeks to initiate debate or exchange of views while floating fresh and constructive ideas towards more effective response to the phenomena of statelessness,

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