UK churches support #LockedInLimbo statelessness campaign

The #LockedInLimbo campaign draws attention to the estimated 10 million people worldwide who are stateless.

Unlike citizens which have the right to have rights, people who are stateless are – according to the 1954 Statelessness Convention – “not considered as a national by any state under the operation of its law”. The campaign describe ‘statelessness’ as “a corrosive condition that impacts almost every aspect of daily life”

“The use of immigration detention and the criminalisation of irregular migration is increasing across many parts of Europe. Stateless people are particularly vulnerable to arbitrary detention, including here in the UK. Some face indefinite detention because there is no country to which they can be returned but equally no prospect of regularisation in the country hosting them.”

Faith leaders from across the UK have signed the #LockedInLimbo statement, and there is still an opportunity to add your name to support the message and demonstrate a shared commitment to the welfare of the most marginalised and give a degree of moral and ethical urgency to this issue.

“All our faiths compel us to affirm the dignity of all human beings and to offer help to anyone in need. The best of this country is represented by the generosity, kindness, solidarity and decency that the United Kingdom has at many times shown those who need our protection, even at times of far greater deprivation and difficulty than the present day.”

The statement urges the UK government to “do more to welcome stateless people and in particular to adhere to five key principles”:

  1. Implement a range of alternatives to detention to ensure that stateless people do not end up locked in limbo simply because they have no country to which they can return.
  2. Ensure early identification where a person lacks a nationality, and guarantee that detainees have full access to the UK’s statelessness determination procedure.
  3. Carry out an individual vulnerability assessment as part of every decision to detain.
  4. Facilitate integration in the community by regularising stateless people and granting them a residence permit and facilitated access to naturalisation.
  5. Improve monitoring and data collection on statelessness as in order to effectively address the problem it needs to be properly understood.

The #LockedInLimbo website includes some people’s stories about how they came to be stateless.

#LockedInLimbo is part of a Europe-wide Statelessness campaign which builds on the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees) decade of campaigning to end statelessness by 2024.