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'I’m scared I'll be arrested and held somewhere - that’s why I almost never leave my house'

A national conference on Statelessness is being held in Dublin today.

Image: It comes as countries mark the 60th anniversary of the 1954 Convention relating to the status of Stateless Persons. via © UNHCR /G. Constantine

A NATIONAL CONFERENCE is being held in Dublin today to discuss ways of helping stateless people access their rights.

It’s the first national conference on Statelessness held in Ireland.

One man in the series Nowhere people, The World’s Stateless, described how he is too scared to leave his home.

“I’ve lost all hope to get my passport.  My only problem is that I cannot move because I cannot go beyond this town. Even in this region I can be arrested.

I’m always concerned that I will be arrested and detained somewhere and that would cause me problems to find my way back home here. That’s why I almost never leave my house.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland and UNHCR organised the event. Head of Office with UNHCR Ireland, Sophie Magennis, said:

As more countries sign up to the statelessness conventions and introduce determination procedures, momentum is growing worldwide to stamp out Statelessness.

“However more is required to help people facing numerous obstacles in their day-to day-day lives, in a scenario repeated across countries around the world.”

It’s estimated that 12 million people across the world do not have a nationality.

UNHCR will launch a global campaign this November to end Statelessness by November 2024.

‘Left in limbo

It comes as countries mark the 60th anniversary of the 1954 Convention relating to the status of Stateless Persons.

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Hilkka Becker, Senior Solicitor with the Immigrant Council, said:

It is unacceptable that people are still being left in limbo six decades after an international commitment was given to respond to this problem with States signing up to the 1954 UN Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.

“Being a citizen of a country guarantees us some of our most basic rights and entitlements – it is our access to social services, our right to work and travel, the right to a passport and the right to vote.

When people find themselves with no citizenship they have no security, protections or certainty and cannot plan futures for themselves and their families.

“The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 is one of the causes of statelessness in Europe affecting hundreds of thousands of persons in the Baltic states and in Eastern Europe – and while most of those affected will find a solution to their situation in their country of origin, a trickle of the impact of this has also reached Ireland.”

Read: 23 years after being declared an alien, Ireland declares Roman Uustalu stateless>

Read: After six years living in limbo, Natig Sadygov declared stateless>

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