This fact sheet explains some of the main causes and consequences of statelessness for children. It also gives a brief overview of the international legal framework protecting the child’s right to a nationality.
Statelessness affects more than 12 million people around the world. Among those, the Open Society Justice Initiative estimates that as many as 5 million may be minors.
The consequences of lack of nationality are numerous and severe. Many stateless children grow up in extreme poverty and are denied basic rights and services such as access to education and health care. Stateless children’s lack of identity documentation limits their freedom of movement. They are subject to arbitrary deportations and prolonged detentions, are vulnerable to social exclusion, trafficking and exploitation—including child labor. Despite its importance, children’s right to a nationality rarely gets the urgent attention it needs.
The Justice Initiative is combating statelessness among children by strengthening the human right to a nationality. Our activities include litigation, advocacy, research, and collaborative partnerships around the world.