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2. Nationality & statelessness under the CRC
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2. Nationality & statelessness under the CRC

The right to a nationality is reaffirmed in Article 7 CRC, which pays particular attention to the avoidance of childhood statelessness, setting out that:

1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.
2. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with their national law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments in this field, in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless.

Moreover, in accordance with Article 8 CRC, “States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality […] without unlawful interference” and “[w]here a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily his or her identity”. The article ensures that a child’s right to preserve their identity, including their nationality, name and family relations, must be protected. Not only should these be protected, but where a child has not obtained, or has had any aspect of their identity taken away from them, the State must make efforts to remedy this.

In interpreting the content of the rights protected under the CRC, the Committee gives particular consideration to the General or Guiding Principles that inform the implementation of all rights in the convention. The General Principles that the Committee has identified as cross-cutting in the CRC are: Non-discrimination (Article 2); Best interests of the child (Article 3); Right to life, survival and development (Article 6); Respect for the views of the child (Article 12). All of these General Principles are relevant to the problem of childhood statelessness and the protection of children’s right to a nationality. However, the principle of non-discrimination has had a particularly strong influence in informing the interpretation of States Parties’ obligations.

The work of the CRC Committee is central to gaining a better understanding of States Parties’ obligations under Article 7 of the Convention. Children’s right to nationality has yet to be the subject of a General Comment, Day of General Discussion, or any individual complaints. However, the interpretation of Article 7 CRC has been addressed as part of the regular monitoring of States Parties’ implementation of their Convention obligations and the "Concluding Observations and Recommendations" issued  by the Committee. From 1991-2016, the Committee issued 126 recommendations on the content of children’s right to acquire a nationality. To date, the Committee has made recommendations on the content of the child’s right to acquire a nationality across a wide range of themes, clarifying the nature of States Parties’ obligations under the CRC. In monitoring States Parties’ fulfilment of their obligations under the CRC, the Committee has also prescribed a range of “General Measures of Implementation” that States are expected to develop in order to fulfil the right of every child to a natioanlity. The Committee’s recommendations are summarised in the diagrams below – click here  to read more.