Presentation on theme: "Prevention and reduction of statelessness in the Americas Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, Organization of American States February 23, 2012."— Presentation transcript:
Prevention and reduction of statelessness in the Americas Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, Organization of American States February 23, 2012
Legal bases for action to prevent and reduce statelessness UN General Assembly, Resolutions 50/152, 61/137 States: Emphasizes that prevention and reduction of statelessness are primarily the responsibility of States, in appropriate cooperation with the international community; UNHCR: Requests the Office of the High Commissioner […] to provide relevant technical and advisory services pertaining to the prepa ration and implementation of nationality legislation to interested States; OAS General Assembly, Resolution 2665 of 2011 States: To urge those member states that have not yet done so, in accordance with the international instruments on statelessness to which they are party, to review their national legislation with a view to preventing and reducing statelessness 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness UNHCR Executive Committee
Prevention and reduction: Good practices and gaps in the Americas Context: increased migration, marriages between people of different nationalities International standard: Prevention of statelessness at birth for children born in the territory – Tradition of jus soli in the region means that statelessness rarely transferred from one generation to another 1961 Convention does not require jus soli, only that nationality be granted to the limited number of children born in territory who do not acquire any other nationality Some limitation on just soli acceptable (eg. residence requirements for parents) as long as children born stateless acquire nationality – ex. Colombia Compare to states with no jus soli and no safeguards to prevent statelessness among children: if parents are stateless, their children are also stateless – Childhood statelessness in the Americas generally flows from questions of proof identity, not from gaps in legislation
Good practices and gaps – prevention for children born to nationals abroad International standard: Prevention of statelessness at birth for children born to a national abroad – 1961 Convention allows for some limitations Registration requirement (ie. at consulate) Residence requirement - ensures that some children will remain stateless because parents cannot return to take up residence but … – Trend toward eliminating limits on jus sanguinis transmission of nationality to children born abroad – maintain ties with migrant communities Elimination of residence requirements – Argentina, Chile, Brazil Elimination of registration requirement (pure jus soli) - Ecuador and Bolivia
Good practices and gaps - foundlings International standard: Foundlings – presumed to be nationals under 1961 Convention One of most common provisions in nationality laws globally A number of States grant nationality to foundlings in nationality legislation – Honduras. Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru Many States lack provision in nationality law – How are foundlings dealt with?
Good practices and gaps – voluntary renunciation International standard: Renunciation of nationality – safeguard necessary to ensure that individuals cannot voluntarily renounce nationality unless they have or will acquire another – Potentially a problem for other States, eg. Romania in early 1990s A number of States have good safeguards – Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela Other States allow renunciation …. – Are individuals required in practice to show they have or will acquire another nationality for renunciation to take effect
Good practices and gaps – loss of nationality for residence abroad International standard: Loss of nationality for naturalized citizens – no loss of nationality for residence abroad of less than seven years if the person would become stateless – Only affects the very small number of people who have emigrated and have not acquired another nationality – Potentially a problem for other States as migrants become stateless Most States in the Americas have good legislation Small number of States provide for loss of nationality by people who have naturalized after 3 years, 5 years – If state has monist legal tradition and is party to the 1961 Convention, would the provision that is more beneficial to the individual prevail, avoiding need for constitutional reform?
50 th Anniversary of the 1961 Convention – pledges to address statelessness Pledges made at Ministerial Meeting to take action on refugee protection and statelessness Pledges to accede to 1954 and/or 1961 Conventions – Argentina (1961 Convention, subject to congressional approval) – Colombia (bill for accession to 1961 Convention before Congress) – Ecuador (1961) – Haiti (1954, 1961) – Honduras (1954, 1961 before Congress) – Peru (1954, 1961) – Paraguay (1954 before Congress, 1961 pending deposit of instrument before UN) Pledge to reform nationality law and/or regulations – Haiti – Peru
50 th Anniversary of the 1961 Convention – pledges to address statelessness (cont.) Pledges to accede to establish statelessness determination procedures under 1954 Convention – Brazil – Costa Rica – Uruguay – USA (work with Congress to establish a procedure)
Calls upon States to accede to 1954 and 1961 Conventions UN General Assembly Notes that sixty-two States are now parties to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and that thirty-three States are parties to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, encourages States that have not done so to give consideration to acceding to these instruments (Res. 61/137 and subsequent resolutions) UNHCR Executive Committee – Encourages States to give consideration to acceding to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness – Encourages States to give consideration to acceding to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons UN Human Rights Council
UNHCR’s role UN General Assembly Requests the Office of the High Commissioner, in view of the limited number of States party to these instruments, actively to promote accession to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the reduction of statelessness, as well as to provide relevant technical and advisory services pertaining to the preparation and implementation of nationality legislation to interested States; (Res 50/152) Notes the work of the High Commissioner in regard to identifying stateless persons, preventing and reducing statelessness, and protecting stateless persons, and urges the Office of the High Commissioner to continue to work in this area in accordance with relevant General Assembly resolutions and Executive Committee conclusions; Emphasizes that prevention and reduction of statelessness are primarily the responsibility of States, in appropriate cooperation with the international community; (Res. 61/137 and subsequent resolutions)