Children’s right to nationality

The right of every child to acquire a nationality is protected under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and numerous other key human rights conventions. Yet, according to UNHCR’s estimates, a child is born stateless somewhere in the world every 10 minutes. This has a detrimental impact on the life of the child, putting him or her at a worrying disadvantage right from the start and affecting the enjoyment of a wide range of other crucial child rights – such as birth registration, education and health. Moreover, as long as children continue to be born without a nationality, the problem of statelessness will continue to grow. In many countries, statelessness is inherited from one generation to the next, making it an entrenched and even more challenging problem to address.

Tools on the right to nationality under the CRC

The Institute is committed to helping to promote children’s right to a nationality and this forms one of our five thematic priorities. As part of this work, the Institute has developed a civil society toolkit, to strengthen engagement on children's right to a nationality with the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

You can also download the full toolkit directly in PDF format here. Or download the 6-page summary brochure of the Toolkit to learn more about its contents here.

Submissions to the Committee on the Rights of the Child

Since its establishment at the end of 2014, the Institute has helped to highlight issues relating to children's right to a nationality to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in the following countries:

Barbados (Additional information, ahead of the Committee session, in collaboration with the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights)

Cameroon (in collaboration with Citizens Governance Initiatives)

Estonia (in collaboration with the European Network on Statelessness). Ahead of the Committee Session, we also submitted additional information on Estonia.

Iran (Additional information, ahead of the Committee session)

Lebanon

Nepal (in collaboration with the Forum for Women, Law and Development and the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights)

Qatar (in collaboration with the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights)

Saudi Arabia (in collaboration with the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights)

Serbia (in collaboration with Praxis Serbia and the European Network on Statelessness). Ahead of Committee Session, we also submitted additional information on Serbia.

Sierra Leone (in collaboration with the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights)

South Africa (in collaboration with Lawyers for Human Rights)

Ending childhood statelessness in Europe

The Institute is also an expert partner for the campaign by the European Network on Statelessness (ENS), entitled None of Europe's children should be stateless. This campaign aims to promote the enjoyment of a nationality – and thereby the prevention of statelessness – by all children who are born in Europe or who are born to European parents in other parts of the world. Thousands of children are growing up without the basic protection a nationality offers to citizens because of gaps in nationality laws and laws governing procedures for birth registration. The report No Child Should be Stateless, is based on comparative research in Council of Europe states for which the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion was an expert partner. It details a worrying array of problems and makes a series of recommendations designed to guide actions to address – and ultimately end – childhood statelessness in Europe.