Addressing Statelessness and the Right to Nationality in the UPR

side-event statelessness

On 17 March 2023, the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI) and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung launched the report  "Mainstreaming Statelessness and the Right to Nationality in the Universal Periodic Review: UPR Third Cycle Evaluation and Lessons for The Future" during a side event to the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council.

The UPR is one of the most effective tools that allows to increase visibility on all human right issues including the ones related to undocumented people around the world. This report confirms the importance of the UPR on issues related to stateless people and contains a series of case studies that show the growing impact of UPR recommendations in addressing this topic. The report also provides detailed explanations of the recommendations made during the three UPR cycles regarding the situation of stateless people worldwide.


The 4th UPR cycle represents an opportunity to strengthen the commitment of all actors involved in the UPR to further raise these issues. Dr. Laura Van Waas, co-Director of ISI, said that more and more stakeholders, including civil society organisations (CSOs) and UN Country Teams, submit detailed reports focusing exclusively on nationality and statelessness rights.

ISI has contributed to facilitate access to information in this domain, and multiple tools has been created to learn more about the recommendations related to these issues, such as the ISI database on statelessness and human rights.


“The UPR is a way to give visibility to stateless people and to put this issue on the national agenda of the States under review. Even if the recommendations related to this issue are only noted by the government, all national actors can take up these issues and advocate for an improvement of the rights of stateless individuals or directly engage in actions that can contribute to implement recommendations.”

 Mona M'Bikay, Executive Director of UPR Info during her statement.

Ms. M'Bikay provided several examples, of how UPR recommendations have contributed to advance the rights of stateless people. Kenya, for example, after receiving two UPR recommendations on this subject, as well as recommendations from the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, committed to implement the UN Convention on Statelessness. This led to the granting of nationality to the Shona community in the country, which represents 1/6th of the stateless persons in Kenya.

The UPR Info database is also an essential tool to review all recommendations made during the first three UPR cycles. Recommendations addressing these issues are now available under a new tag "Statelessness and the right to nationality".