Spring 2017 (31.1) Essay

Heeding the Clarion Call in the Americas: The Quest to End Statelessness

Statelessness, or the condition of being formally excluded from citizenship everywhere, has been deemed a “scourge” and “the most forgotten aspect of human rights in the international community” by the newly elected UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. In 2014 the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which has the mandate for the protection of stateless people globally, launched the #IBelong Campaign to eradicate statelessness by 2024. A key component of the campaign is its Global Action Plan to End Statelessness (GAP), which consists of ten actions for governments and other interested parties to undertake to end statelessness worldwide. Since the campaign’s ability to end statelessness is only as strong as the regional and local actors who implement the GAP on the ground, this essay examines how the campaign has been implemented regionally. Given that Guterres and others have identified the Americas as having the potential to be the first region to end statelessness by 2024, the current essay evaluates the region’s progress toward this goal.

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