stateless person

GC: n

S: UNHCR – (last access: 8 November 2015); UNOHCHR – (last access: 6 November 2015).


1. – stateless (adj): c. 1600, from state + -less.
– person (n): early 13c., from Old French persone “human being, anyone, person” (12c., Modern French personne) and directly from Latin persona “human being, person, personage.
2. A “stateless person” is someone who is not considered as a national by any state under the operation of its law (article 1 of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons). Here, nationality refers to the legal bond between a person and a state. This bond can best be seen as a form of official membership which confers upon the national certain rights (like the right to live in the country or participate in elections) as well as duties (like the duty of military service, where this is still in place). A person who is stateless lacks this membership and will be seen and treated as a foreigner by every country in the world. This phenomenon has also been described as “de jure statelessness”.
3. The 1954 Convention is designed to ensure that stateless people enjoy a minimum set of human rights. It establishes the legal definition of a stateless person as someone who is “not recognized as a national by any state under the operation of its law.” Simply put, this means that a stateless person is someone who does not have the nationality of any country. The 1954 Convention also establishes minimum standards of treatment for stateless people in respect to a number of rights. These include, but are not limited to, the right to education, employment and housing. Importantly, the 1954 Convention also guarantees stateless people a right to identity, travel documents and administrative assistance.
4. Cultural Interrelation: We can mention, among others, the Memoirs of a Stateless Person by Anna C. Fries.
S: 1. OED – (last access: 6 November 2015). 2. IOS – (last access: 8 November 2015). 3. UNHCR – (last access: 6 November 2015). 4. Amazon – (last access: 5 January 2016).


CR: alienage, asylee, displaced person, emigrant, exiled, expellee, forced migration, human rights, immigration, immigrant, internally displaced people, international humanitarian law, international migration, international protection, irregular migration, migration, nationality, refugee, statelessness.