Statelessness is a problem that affects at least 10 million people worldwide and about 6,000 people in Belarus. Statelessness impacts social and economic rights such as the right to education, work, social security, housing, medical care, as well as civil and political rights, including freedom of movement, freedom from arbitrary detention and the right to participate in political life.

The realization of the right to citizenship by each person will contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, namely Goal 10 “Reduced Inequalities”, Goal 16 “Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions” and Goal 17 “Partnership for the Goals”.

“People without citizenship are often not unseen and unheard. Today 6,000 people in Belarus are stateless. They do not enjoy full equality as citizens of the country”, commented the UNHCR Representative in Belarus, Jean-Yves Bouchardy.

The UN believes that Belarus’ accession to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on Reduction of Statelessness is an important tool for resolving disputes related to citizenship, as well as for mobilizing international efforts for effective prevention and reduction of statelessness.
The 1961 Convention aims to prevent statelessness and reduce it over time. It is the only universal instrument that defines clear, detailed and concrete measures to ensure an effective response to the threat of statelessness.

In October 2019, UNHCR will hold the High Level Segment on Statelessness, the global forum which will gather high-ranking representatives from countries around the world to assess the progress made and emphasize the importance of additional efforts to end statelessness. This important event will also give the opportunity for the participants to announce their statelessness related pledges, including decision to accede to one or both UN Statelessness Conventions.

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In 2014, UNHCR launched the Global #IBelong Campaign to End Statelessness within 10 Years. To achieve the goals of the #IBelong Campaign, the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness establishes a guiding framework comprised of 10 Actions to be undertaken by States, with the support of UNHCR and other stakeholders, to resolve existing statelessness situations and prevent new cases of statelessness from arising.

More information about statelessness and the work of UNHCR in this area can be found on the UNHCR website (section on statelessness) and/or #IBelong campaign website (http://ibelong.unhcr.org ).