A new civil society alliance committed to addressing statelessness in Europe has been launched
The European Network on Statelessness (ENS) has been launched. ENS describes itself as a civil society alliance committed to addressing statelessness in Europe. It believes that all human beings have a right to a nationality and that those who lack nationality altogether are entitled to adequate protection.
Pending ENS's incorporation as an independent body with its own legal identity, the Network is hosted by Asylum Aid in London which performs key secretariat functions including coordination and fundraising.
According to ENS, statelessness affects more than 12 million people around the world and at least 600,000 in Europe alone. To be stateless is to not be recognized as a citizen by any state. It is a legal anomaly that often prevents people from accessing fundamental civil, political, economic, cultural and social rights.
In Europe, ENS says statelessness occurs both among recent migrants and among people who have lived in the same place for generations. Most countries in the region frequently encounter stateless persons in their asylum systems. In the Balkans and elsewhere many Roma remain stateless as a result of ethnic discrimination. Statelessness is also a continuing reminder of the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Despite the scale of the problem, ENS notes that most European countries have no framework to effectively deal with statelessness and tackling this requires major law and policy reform. The European Network on Statelessness is dedicated to strengthening the often unheard voice of stateless persons in Europe and to advocate for full respect of their human rights.
For further information see www.statelessness.eu/