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Laura van Waas , 'Statelessness: The Dark Side of Citizenship'

Laura van Waas
Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Statelessness: The dark side of citizenship

Citizenship is so intrinsic to how our world is organized, that many of us never stop to think about it. How much time have you spent wondering what your life would be like if you were the citizen of a different country, or questioning whether citizenship is actually a good way of administering people at all? It is only when confronted with situations in which citizenship “fails” us, that this invisible force in our lives really becomes felt. One clear site at which the dark side of citizenship comes into view is when it is absent entirely, i.e. when a person is state-less. This lecture explores the global phenomenon of statelessness, discussing the underlying drivers that are causing increasing numbers of people to be confronted with this dark side of citizenship. It also looks at the significance of statelessness in our contemporary world – a significance that has only been deepened by the global pandemic, leading a high-level UN official to comment that “the right to nationality is a fundamental human right, and in this time of crisis it can mean the difference between life and death”.



Dr. Laura van Waas is a founder and Co-Director of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, the first and the only human rights NGO dedicated to promoting the right to a nationality and the rights of stateless people globally. She is also an Assistant Professor at Tilburg Law School and Editor in Chief (with Professor Michelle Foster) of the Statelessness and Citizenship Review. Since starting to work on statelessness in 2004, Laura has carried out a wide array of research and teaching projects. She has undertaken consultancy work for, among others, UNHCR, UNICEF, OHCHR, Plan International, Open Society Foundations, the Women’s Refugee Commission, the United States Department of State, the European Parliament and the Norwegian Refugee Council. She has an extensive track record of publishing with top quality journals and publishers and has been invited to lecture on statelessness at universities, think-tanks and international institutions around the world.


Please make sure you register in advance for the event, you will receive the Zoom link and password automatically after registration.