The Obligation to Grant Nationality to Stateless Children Under Treaty Law
Tilburg Law Review, Vol. 24, No. 2 (2019)
13 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2018 Last revised: 14 Aug 2019
Date Written: February 5, 2018
The statelessness of children is a particularly concerning phenomenon, yet it does have some legal solutions in the wide variety of treaties that touch on the issue. The UNCHR is currently in the middle of an aggressive promotion of the 1954 and 1961 Statelessness Conventions, attempting to convince states to adhere to them. This goal is admirable and will add to the legal protection of a great number of stateless persons. In particular, it should have the result of bringing countless numbers of children into a legal bond with a state. Unfortunately, the Statelessness Conventions as of yet still have far from universal participation. However, there are a large number of other treaties that are relevant for the legal protection of stateless persons, especially for the particular case of children who are stateless.
This paper seeks to survey the field of treaties that govern statelessness, in particular child statelessness, and determine whether states have a treaty obligation to grant nationality to stateless children at birth. This survey will include the major international treaties, such as the Statelessness Conventions and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the applicable regional treaties. Many authorities have concluded that states do not generally have an obligation to grant nationality to stateless children born in their territories, but this paper will counter this conclusion by demonstrating that most states have this obligation from the overlapping collection of treaty obligations.
Keywords: child, stateless, nationality, treaty, UDHR, ICCPR, CRC, UNHCR
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K19, K30, K33, K37, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation