UNCHR welcomes Iceland´s accession to statelessness treaty


UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has welcomed Iceland’s accession to the United Nations Statelessness Conventions.

“We welcome Iceland’s accession, which brings the world one step closer towards ending statelessness,” said Pascale Moreau, UNHCR Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe.

500,000 stateless in Europe

Europe is home to more than 500,000 stateless people.  The total number of stateless people globally remains unknown. UNHCR reports on some 4.2 million stateless people in 79 countries in the world based on available data. However, the actual figure is believed to be much higher.

Iceland acceded to the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness on 26 January. Both will enter into force in the country on 26 April 2021. Iceland’s accession follows a number of significant steps the country has undertaken in the past years to align the national legislation with both conventions. This includes preventing, identifying, and reducing statelessness and protecting stateless persons.

85 countries have joined

Iceland’s accession to the 1954 and 1961 treaties brings the total number of State parties to these instruments to 95 and 76, respectively.

As this year marks the 60th anniversary of the 1961 Convention, UNHCR hopes that more countries will follow Iceland’s example.

In 2014, UNHCR, launched the global #IBelong Campaign to End Statelessness by 2024. Since then, 12 States have acceded to the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. 15 have acceded to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.