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2 Nationality & statelessness in the UPR
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2 Nationality & statelessness in the UPR

In accordance with the UN Human Rights Council Resolution which established the UPR, states shall be assessed on their promotion, protection and fulfilment of human rights obligations under the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ratified human rights treaties, voluntary pledges and commitments made and applicable international humanitarian law. This broad scope of the review allows for the consideration of issues relating to nationality and statelessness.

With two full Cycles of the UPR completed, it is possible to assess the extent to which nationality and statelessness issues have received attention in the recommendations made. The analysis presented below relates to Cycles 1 and 2.

Statelessness issues are increasingly being raised within the UPR. In total, over 57,000 recommendations were issued to states over the course of the first and second UPR Cycles. Of these, 773 were relevant to statelessness and nationality issues. This equates to 1.3% of all recommendations made. By comparison, just over 2,000 recommendations related to human trafficking and 2,600 to minority rights. 479 of the 773 relevant recommendations identified specifically address the realisation of the right to a nationality or the human rights of stateless persons. The remaining 294 were indirectly relevant, in that their implementation would contribute to preventing cases of statelessness. These include recommendations on the realisation of gender equality in all areas of law, made to a country which discriminates against women in its nationality law, or recommendations on improving birth registration coverage.

The number of recommendations made has increased over time: from a total of 21,355 in the 1st Cycle to 36,331 in the 2nd (a factor x 1.7 increase). Recommendations relevant to statelessness have grown at a higher rate: by a factor of 3.1, from 187 in the 1st Cycle to 586 in the 2nd. As a result, the percentage share of relevant recommendations also grew: from 0.9% in Cycle 1 to 1.6% in Cycle 2, reflecting a wider awareness and recognition of statelessness as a human rights issue to be addressed under the UPR.

An impressive total of 162 countries received at least one recommendation relevant to nationality and statelessness during the 1st and 2nd UPR cycles. Of the 38 countries which have been flagged in UN statistics as having a significant stateless population, 34 have received recommendations relating to these issues, equating to close to 90%. Many of countries received multiple recommendations during the two cycles, with Kuwait (41), the Dominican Republic (31), Latvia (27), Slovenia (24) and Lebanon (21), Myanmar (20) and Jordan (20) receiving the most overall.


Recommendations relevant to nationality and statelessness were made by 107 different countries across the 1st and 2nd UPR Cycles. This includes countries across all regions of the world. Approximately 20% of these recommendations were made by a RS to a country in the same regional group (80% were directed to a SuR in a different region). The individual countries making the most recommendations relevant to statelessness were: Mexico (68), Slovakia (44), Uruguay (31), Turkey (30) and Brazil (29).

75% of the UPR recommendations relevant to statelessness issued in the 1st and 2nd Cycles addressed the root causes of statelessness. These have addressed the problems of: nationality laws that discriminate, for instance, on the grounds of race, ethnicity, gender, religion or disability; failure to ensure birth registration or civil documentation for all; lack of provision for stateless children to acquire a nationality; and statelessness resulting from state succession. States have also paid attention to the human rights impact of statelessness within the UPR. In Cycles 1 and 2, a total of 56 recommendations asked states to improve the enjoyment of human rights by stateless persons and a further 6 asked states to establish or improve Statelessness Determination Procedures – a key mechanism for ensuring the identification and protection of stateless persons, especially in a migratory context.