Human rights engagement

The Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion views statelessness as a human rights problem and one of the ways in which we work towards our goal of ending statelessness and disenfranchisement is through international human rights advocacy and other forms of engagement with human rights mechanisms. To date, we have focused in particular on the UN's Universal Periodic Review process (which provides the opportunity for all states in the world to be assessed across the full spectrum of human rights issues) and engagement with the Committee on the Rights of the Child in respect of children's right to a nationality under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (these can be found on the Childhood Statelessness page of our website). You will find our submissions below, most of which have been made jointly with other civil society organisations because we place great value in collaboration in this and all areas of our work:

Latest session of the Universal Periodic Review

28th Session: November 2017

In 2017, the Universal Periodic Review entered its third cycle. The second set of countries which had their human rights record reviewed under this new cycle, during the 28th UPR Session in November 2017, by the Human Rights Council are: Argentina, Benin, Czech Republic, Gabon, Ghana, Guatamala, Japan, Pakistan, Peru, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Ukraine and Zambia. Significant attention was paid to issues relating to nationality and statelessness during this review, with a total of 39 relevant recommendations made. These were addressed to 12 of the 14 countries under review, with the Republic of Korea and Benin receiving the greatest number of recommendations. Côte d’Ivoire was most active in making recommendations relating to statelessness and nationality during the 28th UPR session. The topics addressed in recommendations issued during the review were birth registration; accession to the 1954 and/or 1961 Statelessness Conventions; non-discrimination, including on the basis of gender; protection of stateless persons; enactment of legislation; establishing a statelessness determination procedure; and the definition of a stateless person. Download our full analysis of the statelessness related recommendations made during this UPR session here.

Ahead of the review, the Institute worked with civil society partners to prepare country submissions on nationality and statelessness issues in Japan (with the Statelessness Network Asia Pacific); Switzerland (with Humanrights.ch, the European Network on Statelessness and Terre des hommes Foundation), including completing the matrix on implementation of previous recommendations to Switzerland on statelessness issues; and Ukraine (with DESYATE KVITNYA, R2P, the European Network on Statelessness and the European Roma Rights Centre). We also prepared a summary document which outlined key nationality and statelessness issues in all of the countries under review.

Upcoming sessions of the Universal Periodic Review

29th Session: January 2018

During the 29th UPR Session, in January 2018, the following countries will be reviewed: Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Burundi, France, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mali, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Tonga and the United Arab Emirates. The Institute has worked with civil society partners to prepare country submissions on nationality and statelessness issues in Bahamas (with the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights), Barbados (with the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights), Botswana (with SADC CRAI Network on Statelessness, DITSHWANELO and Lawyers for Human Rights), Burundi (with Association Des Femmes Juristes du Burundi and the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights), Serbia (with Praxis, the European Network on Statelessness and the European Roma Rights Centre), and the United Arab Emirates.

30th Session: May 2018

During the 30th UPR Session, in May 2018, the following countries will be reviewed: Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Colombia, Cuba, Djibouti, Germany, Russia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu and Uzbekistan. The Institute has worked with civil society partners to prepare country submissions on nationality and statelessness issues in Bangladesh (with the Statelessness Network Asia Pacific); Cameroon; Canada (with the Canadian Centre on Statelessness); Colombia (with the Americas Network on Nationality and Statelessness); Germany (with the European Network on Statelessness); and Russia (with the Anti-Discrimination Centre Memorial and the European Network on Statelessness).

Click here for a full overview of when countries will be reviewed under the 3rd cycle and to see what the deadlines are for stakeholder submissions.

Previous sessions of the Universal Periodic Review

27th Session: May 2017

The 27th session of the Universal Periodic Review took place from 1 – 12 May 2017. The following states had their human rights record reviewed at the Human Rights Council: Algeria, Bahrain, Brazil, Ecuador, Finland, India, Indonesia, Morocco, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Tunisia and the United Kingdom. Ahead of the session, the Institute prepared a summary document highlighting the nationality and statelessness issues that we identified in the countries under review. During the review significant attention was paid to issues relating to nationality and statelessness, with a total of 54 recommendations made relating to statelessness and/or the right to nationality. Twelve of the 14 countries reviewed at this session received at least one recommendation on these issues. South Africa and Bahrain received the greatest number of recommendations. Kenya and Slovakia were most active in making recommendations relating to statelessness and nationality during the 27th UPR Session. The topics addressed in recommendations issued during the review were accession to and implementing the 1954 and/or 1961 Statelessness Conventions; civil registration, including birth registration (an important tool to prevent statelessness); establishing a statelessness determination procedure; avoiding arbitrary detention for stateless persons; categorizing statelessness as a protection status; refraining from deprivation of nationality; and addressing gender discrimination in nationality laws. The Institute also worked with partners to make submissions on Bahrain (with Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain); the Netherlands (with ASKV Refugee Support, Defence for Children - the Netherlands, and the European Network on Statelessness); South Africa (with Lawyers for Human Rights); and the United Kingdom (with the Migrants Resource Centre, the University of Liverpool Law Clinic and the European Network on Statelessness). Read our summary analysis of the statelessness related recommendations made during this UPR session here.

26th Session: November 2016

The 26th session of the Universal Periodic Review took place from 31 October - 9 November 2016. The following states had their human rights record reviewed at the Human Rights Council: Haiti, Iceland, Lithuania, Moldova, South Sudan, Syria, Timor-Leste, Togo, Uganda, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Ahead of the session, the Institute prepared a 4-page summary document highlighting the nationality and statelessness issues that we identified in the countries under review. This report on gender discrimination in nationality rights in Syria was prepared by the Institute together with the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights and submitted ahead of the 26th session. During the review, a total of 13 recommendations relating to statelessness and/or the right to nationality were made. Six of the 11 countries reviewed at this session received at least one recommendation on these issues. Haiti received the highest number of recommendations (five), followed by Lithuania, Syria and Uganda which received two relevant recommendations each. Recommendations were made by 11 States from four of the five regional groups. Panama was the most active in making recommendations on statelessness/nationality during this session. The topics relating to statelessness raised at this session were: Ratification of the Statelessness Conventions; gender discrimination in nationality laws; measure to address the situation of those at risk of statelessness; resolving existing cases of statelessness; and nationality law reform. Read our summary analysis of the statelessness related recommendations made during this UPR session here.

25th session: May 2016

The 25th session of the Universal Periodic Review took place from 2-13 May 2016. The following states had their human rights record reviewed at the Human Rights Council: Antigua and Barbuda, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, and Trinidad and Tobago. Ahead of the session, the Institute prepared a 2-page summary document highlighting the nationality and statelessness issues that we identified in the countries under review - problems which include the right of every child to acquire a nationality (including the problem of intergenerational statelessness), the right of every woman to acquire, retain and transfer nationality on an equal basis with men, the identification and protection of stateless persons, the regulation of nationality and avoidance of statelessness following state succession, and the right of every person to not be arbitrarily deprived of their nationality. The Institute also worked with partners to make submissions on statelessness in Thailand, gender discrimination in nationality rights in Sudan (together with the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights), statelessness in Hungary (together with the European Network on Statelessness and Hungarian Helsinki Committee) and report on statelessness in Ireland (together with the European Network on Statelessness and the Immigrant Council of Ireland). Read our summary analysis of the statelessness related recommendations made during this UPR session here.

24th session: January 2016

The 24th session of the Universal Periodic Review took place from 18-29 January 2016. The following countries had their human rights record reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council: Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Palau, Paraguay, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands and Somalia. Ahead of the session, the Institute prepared a 2-page summary document highlighting the nationality and statelessness issues that we identified in the countries under review - problems which include the right of every child to acquire a nationality, the right of every woman to acquire, retain and transfer nationality on an equal basis with men, and the right of every person to not be arbitrarily deprived of their nationality. For Estonia, we also submitted a specific report on statelessness in the country, prepared in collaboration with the Legal Information Centre for Human Rights and the European Network on Statelessness. Read our summary analysis of the statelessness related recommendations made during this UPR session here.

23rd session: November 2015

During the 23rd session of the Universal Periodic Review, from 2-13 November 2015, the following countries had their human rights record reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council: Australia, Austria, Georgia, Lebanon, Mauritania, Micronesia (Federated States of), Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Oman, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Sao Tome and Principe. A total of 54 recommendations were made on nationality/statelessness, targeting 8 of these countries. The Institute has has put together a 2-page summary of the nationality/statelessness related recommendations which were made. Ahead of the 23rd session of the Universal Periodic Review, the Institute compiled a summary document which highlighted the statelessness related human rights challenges in states under review. These included challenges related to: the right of every child to acquire a nationality, the right of every women to acquire, retain and transfer nationality on an equal basis with men, the right of every person to not be arbitrarily deprived of their nationality, and the obligation of states to identify and protect stateless persons. The Institute also collaborated with the Nepal Civil Society Network of Citizenship Rights and the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights on a separate joint submission on gender discrimination in nationality rights in Nepal. Click here to download the report or access the 1-page summary sheet here.