Stateless children are born into a world in which they will face a lifetime of discrimination; their status profoundly affects their ability to learn and grow, and to fulfill their ambitions and dreams for the future. With a stateless child being born somewhere in the world at least every 10 minutes, childhood statelessness is a problem that is growing.
In July and August 2015, UNHCR spoke with more than 250 children and youth and their parents or guardians, in seven countries around the world about their experiences of childhood statelessness.The resulting wide-ranging study, “I am Here, I Belong: the Urgent Need to end Childhood Statelessness,” shows how many stateless children grow up on the margins of society, denied the basic rights most citizens enjoy. Stateless children are often treated like foreigners in their own country. They face discrimination and harassment by authorities and are more vulnerable to exploitation. Their lack of nationality often means they and their families remain impoverished for generations.The report contains testimonies from young people documenting their challenges in accessing education, health care and employment. It also illustrates the psychological consequences statelessness has on individuals. It demonstrates the urgency of ending and preventing childhood statelessness.