Saturday, September 24, 2011

UN Announces New Parties to Conventions on Statelessness

This report from the United Nations highlights the encouraging news that three new countries - Croatia, Nigeria, and the Philippines - have signed onto the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, two agreements that are rarely talked about, but which are essential to the recognition of the problem of statelessness, and to finding potential solutions to it at the international level.

What is somewhat discouraging, however, is that the number of current signatories is relatively small (40 and 68 countries respectively). And why is that? Do states fear that they don't have the resources to help the international community deal with the flow of stateless persons?

These new signatories seem to suggest otherwise, as Croatia, Nigeria, and the Philippines have not demonstrated extraordinary ability or influence. Perhaps their willingness to join with the more developed world in helping stateless persons will serve as a signal to other nations that they too can help - and that perhaps it is in their best interest - regardless of their international status. We'll have to wait and see, but for now let's appreciate the steps being taken by Croatia, Nigeria, and the Philippines to make the world a better place for those who lack the basic protection of citizenship.

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