Monday, 16 December 2013

GUEST POST: The issue of statelessness in Europe put forward at a Regional Session of the European Youth Parliament in Sweden

The 3rd Eastern Regional Session of the European Youth Parliament Sweden (EYP Sweden) took place in Stockholm on 22- 24 of November 2013.

This year EYP Sweden was organising a round of Regional Sessions across Sweden. One of them was the 3rd Eastern Regional Session that I had the honour to preside. This session stood out among the others first and foremost due to its theme: “The Right to Human Rights”. The situation of Syrian Refugees, LGBTI rights, gender violence, human trafficking in the EU and other topics were discussed during the session. Moreover, it was the first time when the topic of statelessness was put forward for discussions at an EYP event. In particular, the Committee on civil liberties, justice, and home affairs I (LIBE I) were confronted with the following question: “There is a nearly universal ratification by EU Member States of the 1954 Statelessness Convention relating to the status of stateless persons (Estonia, Cyprus, Malta and Poland are yet to sign it). Despite this, there remain an estimated 700,000 stateless persons living in Europe today. Only a handful of European States have functioning statelessness determination procedures in place, thus implementing their obligations. What steps should the EU take to improve the protection of stateless persons in Europe?”

The LIBE I Committee has suggested the following responses to the question above. The Committee emphasised the importance of raising awareness about statelessness in Europe through, among others, informative courses on statelessness as part of school programmes (for example, social science and history classes in educational curricula offered to high school students within EU Member States) and through the implementation of awareness campaigns via the use of social media and public debating. The Committee members also supported the establishment of NGOs with a specific focus on statelessness through the provision of respective financial and human resources on behalf of the EU.

Furthermore, Swedish youth called for a detailed analysis of the existing statelessness determination procedures with the aim of identifying the best practices and the potential of their further application in other EU Member States. Another issue discussed, but not mentioned in the Resolution was the issue of questioning the existing Conventions on statelessness, as well as the European Convention on Nationality. Committee members even discussed the idea of adopting a new European Convention that would solely focus on statelessness in Europe.

As a Member of the EYP and a PhD student with a focus on statelessness, I am very pleased with the outcome of the session, in particular with the fact that the issue of statelessness in Europe was raised, especially taking into consideration the launch of a pan-European campaign by the European Network on Statelessness to improve the protection of stateless persons in Europe in October this year. Hopefully, the topic of statelessness will be included into the agenda of more events of the European Youth Parliament in the future.

To see the full Resolution Booklet, please click here

Valeriia Cherednichenko, PhD Researcher in Advanced Studies in Human Rights at Charles III University of Madrid, Spain

European Youth Parliament is a non-partisan and independent educational project which is tailored specifically to the needs of the young European citizen. Today the EYP is one of the largest European platforms for political debate, intercultural encounters, political educational work and the exchange of ideas among young people in Europe. The EYP consists of a network of more than 35 European associations and organisations in which thousands of young people are active in a voluntary capacity. The entire network organises about 200 events every year. The EYP is a programme of the Schwarzkopf Foundation (please follow the link for more information ).

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