Final Act and Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (E/CONF.17/5/Rev.1, 1954)
During the Second World War era, people not only lost their homes but their nationalities as well. The lack of nationality poses great problems; it deprives people of rights most of the global population takes for granted. They are being denied a legal identity, and as a result, lose access to education, healthcare, marriage and job opportunities, and even a death certificate.
The 1954 Convention was the first international treaty specifically aimed at regulating the treatment of stateless persons. It shares the same origins as the 1951 Refugee Convention, as it was originally drafted as a Protocol supplementing it. When the Refugee Convention was eventually adopted, the Protocol was referred to a separate conference that transformed it into a self-standing convention. With its adoption, the refugee and the stateless person, who up to then had been treated without distinction, were now both accorded an independent definition and legal status.
According to the estimates of UNHCR, the UN’s Refugee Agency, at least 10 million people around the globe are stateless today. The causes are manifold and include dissolution and emergence of States, conflicting nationality laws, discrimination of ethnic or religious groups, and gender-based discrimination.
UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras, #152526