In the last two years, NFA has undertaken an extensive exercise of conducting a mapping of stakeholders and holding consultations with them to identify the methods and approaches to attain this aim. UNHCR Regional Bureau Asia Pacific and NFA conducted a regional consultation with civil society organizations (CSOs) working on statelessness and the right to nationality in April 2022 and asked the participants to fill out a survey. Based on the findings of the bilateral consultations, survey findings of the regional consultation, and building on the learnings of NFA’s work as Statelessness Network Asia Pacific (SNAP), NFA decided to facilitate the creation and then coordinate the operation of a regional alliance on statelessness. As opposed to SNAP, this alliance is planned to function as a Secretariat-driven collective with the purpose of long-term solidarity building, peer learning, resource building, and joint advocacy.


The post-event survey and the consultations with organizations and the Advisory Group members showed that a regional alliance would contribute to addressing some of the challenges presented below:

Limited data and resources on statelessness

NFA has been undertaking a comprehensive mapping of the statelessness situation in the region collecting information on the citizenship laws, stakeholders working on nationality rights, and population and statistics of stateless persons and persons at the risk of statelessness in all the countries in the region. Despite credible evidence of the statelessness problem in the region, the issue does not get the needed attention, and consequently, the resources to address statelessness in the region are limited. One of the reasons behind it is the limited quantitative and qualitative data on statelessness in this region. An active regional alliance can play a crucial role in generating attention and resources to address and resolve statelessness in the region.


Fair and meaningful participation of persons with lived experience of statelessness

The statelessness civil society ecosystem consists of very few organizations that are led by stateless persons or persons with lived experience of statelessness. NFA has found that when human rights initiatives are led by persons with lived experience of statelessness, the impact of such advocacy centers the interests of the stateless persons and is more sustainable and thus, we strongly believe that statelessness advocacy should be led by persons with lived experience of statelessness. The regional alliance can help facilitate this shift in power and strengthen the empowerment, and fair and meaningful participation of persons with lived experience of statelessness.


Learning and solidarity building platform

Stateless activists and CSOs working on statelessness operate under challenging socio-political environments facing constant risks of reprisal by the government and non-government entities. Despite these challenging circumstances many CSOs and activists in the region have successfully brought about social and legal reforms to address the causes and impacts of statelessness and are continuing to do so. During NFA’s bilateral consultations with former SNAP members, many expressed the interest in creating a safe space to build solidarity among activists and CSOs to share their stories of successes and failures to gain emotional support from each other. Some organizations also voiced a need to create a knowledge building and learning platform among different stakeholders working on statelessness. The regional alliance can provide this space to build knowledge and solidarity among the various activists and CSOs.


Regional civil society movement

Contrary to other geographic regions, the Asia Pacific region does not have a regional human rights instrument nor a regional human rights court to protect the rights of stateless persons. The 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness are the key international conventions addressing statelessness. Only a handful of countries have ratified either of the Statelessness Conventions. The problems of statelessness in region are multi-faceted and is as diverse as the diversity of the region. Through SNAP’s experience we have learnt that building a civil society movement on statelessness in such a vast region requires significant resources and commitment. Building on the work of SNAP, the regional alliance in the long run can create and generate the necessary resources to forge a regional civil society movement. In the short run the alliance can support the national movements of the members and even facilitate joint advocacy among members. NFA is already a member of the Interim Core Group of the Global Movement on Statelessness and a member of the Global Alliance on Statelessness Taskforce. Through NFA, the alliance can liaise with these global platforms to explore collaborations with them to strengthen the regional and national civil society movements.