Stateless Person

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Stateless people are defined as people who are not accepted as citizen[1] by any country by execution of their individual legislation. Within the 15th article of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights it is stated that “Everyone has the right to a nationality and No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.” By the virtue of this article, “Nationality” is accepted as a basic human right.


The reason which brings nationality to a level of importance that it necessitated such a definition to be included in the universal declaration of human rights is that nationality constitutes the basis for an individual to benefit from certain rights and protection. Nationality provides stability of execution related to human rights arising from the nature of nationality and thus ensures security of individuals.


Becoming stateless might occur from sources including but not limited to the reasons given below[2][[|]];


a) Conflict of laws: A person might become stateless as a result of different enforcements and regulations between nations. For example: If State of A in which a person is born grants nationality by blood (jus sanguinis) and State B in which his parents are born grants nationality by birth place (jus soli); then the person might become stateless, because he does not meet the requirements to be granted nationality by his state of birth and the state of his parents’ citizenship.


b) Conveyance of land: A person might become stateless if a state gains its independence, it is separated, a new state is established or its sovereignty is reinstated. Despite of the fact that legal regulations are implemented to prevent the people from becoming stateless and to protect people in the course of similar conditions which affect large masses of people, particularly during long terms of uncertainty people might become stateless.


c) Implementations of States: Deficiencies in marital law and related laws, administrative implementations, discriminations against a certain group or laws on civil registry might entail reasons for an individual to become stateless.


d) Executions of Individuals: Individuals might give up their existing nationality rights before being granted another nationality or these rights might be considered to be unwillingly forfeit by misleading information or administrative implementations.


Stateless people was subjected in the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons for the first time, by that it was aimed to guarantee by the broadest manner possible the basic rights and liberties of these people. An internationally accepted definition of the term “Stateless person” was included within the scope of this convention and the framework of protection for the economical, social and political rights of these people was set forth.



  1. Some countries implement the term of Citizenship for legal relations and other countries use the term of Nationality. Both words are used with synonymy in the text.
  2. Information and Accession Package Related to Conventions on Stateless People; Pages:4-5;UNHCR; January 1999


Source: Orçun Ulusoy; 2009; Sorularla İnsan Hakları; İnsan Hakları Gündemi Derneği; Turkish


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