International Statelessness Law is a pocket-sized compilation of the key international legal texts pertaining to nationality and statelessness. The international law on statelessness is fundamentally a set of principles aimed at protecting people from arbitrariness, discrimination and resultant denial or loss of nationality, and facilitating human rights protection for those who have no nationality. Thus, there is a significant overlap between the field of statelessness and those of human rights, refugee and public law. In fact, many of the strongest protections against statelessness and for stateless persons are found in human rights instruments. Extracts of these instruments which specifically relate to the right to a nationality and the avoidance of statelessness are included in this compilation, but please remember that in fact all human rights are to be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of nationality or statelessness. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly affirms, "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights".
The contents of this book represent the core standards of international law on statelessness. When reading it, please be mindful that they have been fleshed out by authoritative bodies, giving context and direction to principle. In particular, please refer UNHCR's Handbook on Protection of Stateless Persons, and Guidelines on Statelessness No. 4, in relation to the 1954 and 1961 Conventions respectively; relevant General Comments and Recommendations of UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies in relation to statelessness and human rights law; resolutions of UN the General Assembly and of the Human Rights Council; and the jurisprudence of international, regional and national courts and committees which have interpreted these instruments.
This publication is intended as a companion to all people interested in statelessness and the international legal tools to address it, from expert lawyers to students new to the issue. It is meant to be highlighted, tabbed and scribbled upon. While designed to fit in your pocket or handbag, it can also adapt to a more sedentary existence on a bookshelf.