Right to a Nationality General Comment – Introducing the Resolution by Ambassador Taylor
53rd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council
Thank you, Mr. President.
On behalf of the United States and our partners in the Core Group, Australia, Colombia, Mexico, and Slovakia, we are proud to introduce resolution L.28 titled, “The Right to a Nationality: Equality in Nationality Rights in Law and in Practice.”
We all share the understanding that the right to nationality, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is a fundamental human right. It is a right that everyone should be privileged to enjoy. Sadly, the stark reality is that millions around the globe are devoid of this basic right.
Statelessness subjects individuals to a reality where they are often left unprotected by the legal system, are unable to vote, and have inadequate access to essential services such as education, employment, and healthcare. It bars them from registering life events like birth, marriage, or death, and from property rights. Stateless persons are often encumbered by travel restrictions, face social exclusion, and are particularly susceptible to gender-based violence, exploitation, trafficking, forcible displacement, among other grave challenges.
The United States, along with our Core Group partners, has been steadfast in championing the cause of preventing and reducing statelessness. In 2012 and 2016, we spearheaded resolutions focusing on the right to nationality for women and children, which were unanimously adopted by the Council.
This year, we have updated the text in a few important ways. First, we have expanded the resolution beyond its previous focus on women to highlight, more broadly, forms of discrimination in nationality laws against members of vulnerable and marginalized groups. We urge states to address such discrimination in a manner consistent with international law. Second, we call for efforts to prevent and resolve statelessness to include meaningful consultation with stateless persons and civil society. Finally, we welcome and highlight the progress made through ongoing global movements and States’ pledges to reduce statelessness and protect stateless persons.
The resolution we are presenting today represents a balanced product of true multilateral collaboration, reflecting diverse perspectives and constructive cross-regional engagement, resulting in inclusive discourse. We are grateful for the productive engagement by so many and the collaborative culture fostered by the core group.
We invite all States to co-sponsor L28 and join us in our efforts to prevent discrimination against the most vulnerable and marginalized. Statelessness is solvable when states choose to act.
We stand together in the belief that 75 years on, our shared efforts will make the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a reality for all, regardless of their nationality status.
I thank you.