Scharer, R. (2006). The council of Europe and the reduction of statelessness. Refugee Survey Quarterly. 25(3). 33-39.
The Council of Europe has for a long time made significant efforts with regard to the avoidance and reduction of statelessness. Based on the fundamental principle that everyone has the right to a nationality, enshrined in article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Council of Europe has elaborated in 1997 the European Convention on Nationality, which contains principles and rules on the avoidance and reduction of statelessness. In 1999, the Council of Europe has adopted a Recommendation on the Avoidance and Reduction of Statelessness,1designed to further specify some of the provisions on statelessness of the European Convention on Nationality. In addition, the Council of Europe has engaged in numerous bilateral activities aimed at avoiding and reducing statelessness, in particular in States which had experienced situations of State succession, and in other States which intended to accede to the European Convention on Nationality. All these efforts have been made in close cooperation with other international organisations, in particular the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
In the meantime, the Council of Europe has prepared a new international convention devoted exclusively to statelessness and State succession, the Convention on the Avoidance of Statelessness in Relation to State Succession (the Convention). The new Convention has been open for signature from 19 May 2006 and at the time of writing has not yet entered into force. The following paragraphs provide an outline of the main provisions of this new international instrument in the field of statelessness.