The Right to Nationality and the Reduction of Statelessness – The Responses of the International Migration Law Framework

22 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2017

See all articles by Nafees Ahmad

Nafees Ahmad

South Asian University-New Delhi; South Asian University-New Delhi

Date Written: September 20, 2017


Statelessness is the absence of the right to have a legal connection between nationality and state. The state of nationality is an identity to enjoy a ‘right to have rights’. Statelessness disrupts the enjoyment of all the rights which are generally perceived or purported to have been granted for all including inter alia the right to work, the right to vote, the right to health, the right to welfare benefits or welfare and a child’s right to education. Statelessness precludes people from relocating and increases their chances of arbitrary arrest, confinement or detention with no adequate answers. In short, statelessness demotes and generates a state of irrelevance among the people with no hope of their condition ever improving, no possibility for a better future for themselves or their posterity. The state of statelessness dismantles the idea of cohesive human existence in a civilized world. Therefore, statelessness is a deprivation of a range of rights and benefits that bestow upon individuals constitutional identity, national security and state protection popularly known as nationality or citizenship. Statelessness may be imputed to a catena of causes including administrative practices, conflict of laws, discrimination, denationalization, matrimonial litigation, non-registration of births, persecution, renunciation, transfer of territories, re-demarcation of new boundaries, state succession, terrorism, climate change and forced displacement and migration. But its magnitude and scale still remain to be mapped because the problem of statelessness is a new predicament for international law and its offshoots. It has emerged as an ordeal for the international community that has to attend to the plight of 10 million stateless persons worldwide. Thus, it is abundaSuccinctly averringntly clear that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) mandate is well founded in light of the sheer amount of stateless persons. Furthermore, there are also at least 1.5 million stateless refugees and around 3.5 million stateless refugees of Palestinian origin whose problems have posed challenges to the international law framework. In this paper, an attempt has been made to decipher the miasma of statelessness while locating the right to nationality of stateless persons. Suggestions are made with respect to how to end and ensure the reduction of statelessness under the architecture of international law within and beyond the pragmatism of international relations, diplomatic narratives and orientations engrossed in Occidentalism and orientalism.

Keywords: Right to Nationality, Reduction of Statelessness, International Migration Law

JEL Classification: K33, K37

Suggested Citation

Ahmad, Nafees, The Right to Nationality and the Reduction of Statelessness – The Responses of the International Migration Law Framework (September 20, 2017). Groningen Journal of International Law, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2017, Available at SSRN:

Nafees Ahmad (Contact Author)

South Asian University-New Delhi ( email )

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South Asian University-New Delhi ( email )

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110021 (Fax)


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