UNHCR and Government of Liberia Host Workshop on Statelessness


UNHCR and Government of Liberia Host Workshop on Statelessness

UNHCR, 30 Jan 2015

UNHCR and Government of Liberia
Host Workshop on Statelessness

MONROVIA, 30 JAN 2015 — UNHCR and the Government of Liberia through the LRRRC will host a two-day training workshop on statelessness 3-4 February as part of a global push to end the problem worldwide within 10 years.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie and more than 20 celebrities and world opinion-leaders kicked off the global campaign with an open letter on 4 November saying that 60 years after the United Nations first agreed to protect stateless people, “now it’s time to end statelessness itself.”

The Monrovia workshop is being organized by UNHCR and the Liberia Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission (LRRRC) to review the extent of the problem in Liberia and to map out a strategy leading to a National Action Plan on Statelessness.

Statelessness can block people's ability to access health care, education or any form of social security. Lack of official identification documents can mean that a child enters into marriage, the labor market, or is enlisted into the armed forces before the legal age.

Forty participants representing government, civil society organizations, UN agencies, and religious and youth groups, have been invited to attend to discuss the problem of statelessness and possible courses of action. Two legal experts from UNHCR and the Government of Liberia have been identified to lead the discussions.

The international legal basis for ending statelessness is provided by the 1954 UN Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. Liberia is a party to both the 1954 and 1961 conventions.

Yet an estimated 10 million people worldwide lack any nationality and the human rights protections that go with it. At least 750,000 people are stateless in West Africa, according to a UNHCR report on the issue. The Refugee Agency is calling on governments to do more to restore the nationality of stateless individuals and improve national laws to prevent statelessness.

“Both UNHCR and the Government of Liberia welcome this very important workshop where we will take stock of the issue of statelessness as far as Liberia is concerned and hopefully design a roadmap to address the problem,” said UNHCR Representative Khassim Diagne and Cllr. Abla G. Williams, Executive Director of LRRRC.

UNHCR is mandated to help stateless people in addition to leading and coordinating international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide.