It's official, in exactly 18 months time, the First Global Forum on Statelessness will be convened in the Hague (the Netherlands), to mark the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. A joint initiative of the Statelessness Programme (Tilburg University) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, this 3-day event will bring together some 300 academics, government representatives, international organisations, NGOs and stateless people from around the world to present their research, policy work and experiences on statelessness.
The overarching theme of the First Global Forum on Statelessness is “Exploring challenges and sharing good practices in research and policy on statelessness”. Three sub-themes have been identified as the main focus for presentations and discussion:
1. Stateless Children
Topics that may be considered under this theme include: securing a child’s right to a nationality, including in contexts such as international surrogacy arrangements, where children are abandoned or orphaned , or in the case of disabled children; the importance of birth registration and documentation; the impacts on children of gender discrimination in nationality matters; and addressing the psychological effects of statelessness on children
2. Statelessness and Security
This theme encompasses questions of the impact of statelessness on human security, national and international security. Issues to be explored may include: the impacts of statelessness on economic, social and cultural rights; links between statelessness and forced displacement, human trafficking and arbitrary detention; or the role of nationality and statelessness as they relate to conflict and peace-building and; the impacts of statelessness on minority or indigenous communities.
3. Responses to Statelessness
Academic and policy perspectives examining both the challenges and good practices when responding to statelessness may be considered. Areas of interest include research methods to study statelessness; the function and content of protection mechanisms for stateless persons; addressing protracted statelessness situations; successful efforts to reform nationality laws ; and addressing statelessness and its effects in the context of development assistance or disaster relief projects.
How to get involved: the success of the First Global Forum on Statelessness depends on its ability to attract a broad range of participants, from a broad ranges of backgrounds, disciplines and countries. If you have been researching statelessness and would like to present and discuss your findings, you will have the opportunity to apply to participate in a panel discussion. The same is true if you are working on statelessness policy or advocacy work, or if you would like to voice your experiences as a stateless or formerly stateless person. If you are only just starting out with some work on statelessness, don't worry: there's still time. The Global Forum is still 18 months away, but start planning! You can also get involved by sponsoring the event, by helping to support someone's participation or simply by helping us to spread the word about statelessness and about this gathering in particular.
More details will be available on Tilburg University and UNHCR's websites in a few weeks time...