The law seeks to prevent statelessness

Llegeix aquest contingut en català aquí
Translated by Álvaro Rodríguez Huguet

Santiago Ripol Carulla is a professor of International Public Law and International Relations in the Pompeu Fabra University for more than ten years.

Santiago Ripol Carulla, in his office in the UPF. MIQUEL PASCUAL

What does it imply to be a stateless person legally?
Statelessness is considered as people that does not hold any nationality from any country. It is a situation that international law is committed to prevent. Law wants to avoid statelessness.

How does international law work in this regard?
International law regulates relations between the states. Each state has its territory and exercises sovereignty upon its people. The bond that exists between state and person is the nationality. The state protects people of its nationality and this is the main idea in international law.

And the nationality importance…
It is so important that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises the fundamental right of people to have a nationality, and to not be denied of it arbitrarily. It is a basic right. Wherever you go, everyone will know that you are from somewhere, that you have roots, and you will enjoy the benefits that comes with it.

What is the criteria of the states to grant the nationality by default?
Each state decides that according to its domestic laws. United States, for example, as a traditionally immigration country, the nationality is obtained according to the place you born. That is to say, the direct channel to obtain it is being born in their territory. On the contrary, in Spain, as a traditionally emigration country, the main criteria are by bloodline channel. That is to say, the nationality passes down from parents to children. On the other hand, each country also has stablished the way to obtain it by other channels.

How does a person end up in the statelessness situation?
The convention says that a person can be stateless if they had a nationality of a country that has disappeared, by the administration decision or a conflict between two legislations.

What did it mean the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons of 1954?
It is the first one. It is the cornerstone of the international regime in protecting the people in this situation. It gave us a definition and a minimum rules of treatment for this group of people, for instance, the right to access to work, house or education.

And what about the 1961 one?
This one was made to reduce the statelessness cases. It stablished the limited situations in which the states could deny people of their nationality.

How does it affect statelessness to minors?
Minors are in a situation of more vulnerability. The United Nation Convention has to be considered, since it protects minors’ rights, for example, to be able to access to education… In the adult cases, this is not foreseen.

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