Ireland urged to recognise and protect rights of stateless people

Ireland urged to recognise and protect rights of stateless people

A new UN report has urged the Irish government to legislate to recognise stateless people and protect their rights.

The Mapping Statelessness in Ireland report launched today by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, notes that Ireland has ratified the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons but has yet to introduce national procedures allowing people without a nationality to have their status recognised.

People who are born or become stateless often have difficulty accessing basic rights, such as individual documentation, education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement.

Enda O’Neill, UNHCR’s head of office in Ireland, said: “Imagine being unable to access a bank account because you cannot provide a passport, or being denied access to education in the country you grew up in.

“Discrimination against stateless people often starts when they are born.

“By introducing a stateless determination procedure, Ireland has the power to ensure that stateless people here are given recognition, are treated fairly and ultimately have the chance to be fully included in Irish society.”

Millions of people around the world have no nationality. While in Ireland the number of stateless people is thought to be small, the exact number is unknown since there is no systematic recording of statelessness data in Ireland.

For those affected, the absence of a dedicated statelessness procedure can have a devastating impact on their lives. Many of them end up in the asylum process and encounter delays in resolving their situation. Some are left in legal limbo for years with the additional worry of potentially passing statelessness onto their children.

The research published today demonstrates that the establishment of a dedicated statelessness procedure would allow Ireland to fully meet its obligations under the UN Conventions on Statelessness, UNHCR said.

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