This Handbook is intended to assist governments, policy makers, administrative adjudicators, the judiciary, NGOs, legal practitioners, UNHCR staff and other actors with interpreting and applying the 1954 Convention so as to facilitate the identification and proper treatment of its beneficiaries. In addition, this Handbook will be relevant in a range of other circumstances, such as the interpretation of other international instruments that refer to, but do not define, “stateless persons”, “statelessness”, or related terms. In this respect, it is noted that the 1954 Convention has not yet attracted the same level of ratifications/accessions as the 1951 Convention and other human rights treaties. Hence, there is limited State practice, including jurisprudence of national courts, on the application of the 1954 Convention, particularly regarding the interpretation of Article 1(1).The guidance in this Handbook nevertheless considers existing practice of States party to the 1954 Convention and results from a series of expert consultations held by UNHCR.
In order to increase the number of states party to the statelessness conventions, which as the paragraph above notes is not at the same level as other human rights treaties, there has been a concerted effort over the past three years to promote ratifications and accessions. This map provides an updated list of state parties and pledges to accede; it reflects the four countries who just acceded at a treaty event held in Geneva on 1 July 2014 - Belgium, Gambia, Georgia and Paraguay - bringing the totals for both conventions to 82 (1954) and 58 (1961), respectively.
- Thematic Focus: Statelessness (27 June 2014)