On Demand

Citizenship, Statelessness & Denaturalization: The International Legal Landscape

1h 1m

Created on December 11, 2020





Stateless persons are individuals who are not recognized as citizens of any state. This absence of a legal status results in an array of barriers that make every-day, common activities very difficult and have dire long-term individual and community-wide effects. In fact, citizenship - or the right to legal status - is considered as a gateway right as it unlocks, in many jurisdictions, other basic rights like the right to an education, the right to move freely within a country, and even the right to marry and divorce. Stateless individuals face limited – if any – access to lawful employment, education, healthcare, birth registration, property ownership, freedom of movement, or political participation. In the United States, which lacks a consistent legal framework as it pertains to stateless individuals, many people are in limbo, at risk of being in protracted deportation proceedings, or subject to exploitation by employers, law enforcement officials. Under the Trump administration, the effort to denaturalize American citizens has been reinvigorated and led to the very first dedicated standalone section of the Department of Justice to investigate cases of immigrants suspected to have acquired their citizenship fraudulently. 

This program, taught by Cassandre Theano, the Assistant Director of Human Rights and Public International Law at Columbia Law School, and Karina Ambartsoumian-Clough of United Stateless, aims to create an understanding of the concepts of citizenship and statelessness, offer a snapshot of statelessness as it affects populations around the world, delve deeper into the rise of the denaturalization discourse in the United States and explore UNHCR's global action plan to eradicate statelessness by 2024. The course will also discuss the applicable law in the United States, review case studies of stateless individuals, and discuss the work of United Stateless, a nonprofit which can provide attorneys with tools to protect their stateless clients. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Establish a solid understanding of statelessness and its effects
  2. Promote awareness of the Global Action Plan and its ten actions
  3. Identify best practices for representing stateless individuals 

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