What can I do as a frontline refugee practitioner?
The 4 Rs: Recognise, Record, Refer, and Read up!
- Recognise statelessness
Do not assume that everyone has a nationality or that everyone who is stateless knows they are stateless. Be aware that some people may think of ‘nationality’ as their ethnicity or community group rather than citizenship. When assessing eligibility for resettlement, consider whether the possibility of statelessness has been adequately addressed in screening procedures, or if initial indications of statelessness have been recorded, and if needed explore further to identify whether statelessness is linked to heightened protection risks or needs. When assisting persons who have been resettled, consider risk of statelessness and any related needs.
- Record lack of proof of nationality and indications of statelessness
If you identify that a person may have a risk of statelessness, or if the person claims to be stateless, record this important information on any paperwork relating to this person. If a form does not have fields allowing you to accurately record this information, make a note somewhere on the form about it, so that there is a record, and inform the person of this and that it may be important in future. Also keep copies of any relevant documents in your file so that they can be accessed later if needed.
- Refer to expert advice, support, and information
If you identify possible statelessness, refer the person to organisations that specialise in statelessness and nationality in your country of work to see if they can help. Some of our members may be able to assist. Download and use our guide/poster for refugee response actors and our short guide for refugees and asylum seekers.
- Read up about statelessness in the resettlement and complementary protection context. There’s a bit more information below, and more on our websites (links below).