The project in brief
European Network on Statelessness
2017 - Nov 2019 (awaiting confirmation of funding to develop the project further)
- To consolidate and disseminate knowledge and tools on statelessness and forced migration to contribute to building the capacity of national and regional authorities, civil society, and refugee representatives to address statelessness and nationality problems in their responses to forced migration.
- To secure commitment from regional policymakers to undertake concrete actions (in collaboration with us) to improve nationality screening procedures and embed statelessness in relevant asylum/integration policy processes.
- To build connections with refugee community representatives in Greece as a first step towards co-developing tools with refugees to support knowledge transfer in the community and assist stateless refugees to navigate the system and uphold their rights, as well as to share knowledge and platforms for advocacy with refugee representatives.
- Financial resources (the project funded by Open Society Foundations, Sigrid Rausing Trust, and Democracy & Media Foundation)
- Technical (expertise of partners, staff, development of tools, capacity building workshops, research reports, briefings, webinars, podcasts, country position papers etc.)
- Policy change (evidence-based advocacy with regional authorities, national authorities, other stakeholders)
- Institute on Statelessness & Inclusion
- European Network on Statelessness (ENS) members in Greece (Greek Forum of Refugees, Greek Council for Refugees, Fenix Humanitarian Aid, Thomas McGee (individual)), Serbia (Praxis), & The Netherlands (ASKV Refugee Support, New Women Connectors)
Challenges and how they were overcome
A key challenge was the relatively low level of awareness about statelessness among actors working on Europe’s refugee response at all levels, which meant significant resources were needed to get the issue on the agenda and to create advocacy and communication channels and opportunities. We have successfully disseminated project outputs and are beginning to raise awareness among regional and national actors, but translating this into systemic change will take longer. We have also faced challenges in securing resources to sustainably build on this engagement. Sometimes actors did not perceive statelessness/nationality problems to be relevant to their work, or to their communities, in the case of refugee representatives.
We sought to mitigate the lack of awareness about statelessness among key actors with a sophisticated advocacy, engagement, and communications strategy. For example, we linked project outputs to online webinars as a means to engage a wider pan-European (and beyond) audience. We offered a series of community workshops to refugee representatives in Greece (in Lesvos and Athens), working to ensure accessibility for different groups (including e.g. by hosting a women-only workshop in Athens and providing childcare facilities) to raise awareness about statelessness and its impact, which resulted in significant engagement and ideas for future actions to facilitate dissemination of information and access to rights among affected communities.
Results of the Good Practice
- Refugee response actors in Europe (regional & national authorities, civil society, refugee communities) have access to information and tools to enable them to better respond to and protect the rights of stateless refugees arriving in Europe and prevent new cases of statelessness arising as a consequence of displacement .
- Stateless refugees have access to information about their rights and the rights of their children born on the move or in host communities.
- Tools are available to support better decision-making in asylum claims where statelessness/nationality issues are relevant to protection considerations.
How the project meets the GCR Objectives
Objective 1: Ease the pressures on host countries
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
Objective 3: Expand access to third-country solutions
The Stateless Journeys project contributes to supporting and facilitating the achievement of at least three of the objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees (easing pressures on host countries, enhancing refugee self-reliance, expanding access to third-country solutions).
It builds protection capacity among a range of stakeholders in Europe, including refugees themselves, therefore enhancing refugee self-reliance through improved access to information, and therefore, rights.
The project helps to fill an identified gap in knowledge and capacity, which was presenting challenges of access to protection, and durable solutions for stateless refugees and their families. Through improved access to information and practical tools to support their work, state authorities, civil society and other refugee response actors are better able to respond to the protection needs of stateless refugees.
Through evidence-based advocacy for the introduction of mechanisms to improve the identification of statelessness and nationality problems early on in asylum procedures, improved country of origin information on nationality issues, statelessness-specific protection regimes, and advocacy for the introduction of flexibility in access to resettlement and family reunion for stateless people who may be unable to meet rigid evidential requirements, this project goes some way towards facilitating durable solutions for stateless refugees.
Improved awareness about statelessness and improved procedures to identify nationality status and to determine stateless status, also eases pressures on host countries – as host states are better able to identify those in need of protection, facilitate naturalisation and integration for those stateless people who have no country to which to return, and facilitate safe and dignified return where appropriate.
We are continuing to develop new tools for the website, to engage in regional and national advocacy towards project aims, and to secure funding for the project to continue and develop it over the next few years.
Nina Murray, Head of Policy & Research, European Network on Statelessness