Arnel, son of Kinsilina Mohammad, reads his name on his birth certificate which he has just received as part of a birth registration drive organized by UNHCR and UNICEF in Zamboanga City, the Philippines. The project aims to end statelessness and risks of statelessness among the nomadic Sama Bajau people.

Statelessness

Stateless people are not recognized as citizens by any country. Denied of the right to nationality, they often face barriers such as limited access to education, healthcare, employment, the ability to open a bank account, buy a house, and even marry.

UNHCR actively promotes their rights and strives to prevent and eliminate statelessness on a global scale through the #IBelong campaign.

Arnel, son of Kinsilina Mohammad, reads his name on his birth certificate which he has just received as part of a birth registration drive organized by UNHCR and UNICEF in Zamboanga City, the Philippines. The project aims to end statelessness and risks of statelessness among the nomadic Sama Bajau people. © UNHCR/Martin San Diego
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Every individual is entitled to possess a nationality, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, for millions of individuals, this entitlement remains elusive.

A stateless person is someone who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law. Statelessness can lead to a devastating cycle of deprivation and vulnerability, exposing individuals to exploitation and abuse. A person who is denied a nationality is often denied other basic rights such as going to school, seeing a doctor, opening a bank account or moving around freely.

UNHCR is working to resolve existing situations of statelessness, prevent new cases from emerging, and better identify and protect stateless persons.

For more information on UNHCR’s work to end statelessness, news and stories please refer to the Ending Statelessness page on UNHCR.org.

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affected people


There are at least 4.4 million people
who are stateless worldwide

Registration


UNHCR has helped 517,000 people
realize their right to a nationality

The #IBelong Campaign was launched in 2014 with the goal of eradicating statelessness by 2024.

Statelessness is a cycle which can be broken and we know how: by introducing safeguards into nationality laws to protect against childhood statelessness, establishing procedures to identify and protect stateless people, eliminating laws that deny nationality on discriminatory grounds, and ensuring universal birth registration. If there is international resolve, we can dramatically reduce the ranks of those denied so many of their basic rights.

Today at least 4.4 millions of people around the world are denied a nationality.

Stateless people may have difficulty accessing basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.

Without these things, they can face a lifetime of obstacles and disappointment.

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The #IBelong Campaign was launched in November 2014 with the goal of ending statelessness.

Please take a minute to sign our open letter and become part of the #IBelong Campaign to end this injustice.

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