Networking for Change

The development of the European Network on Statelessness and Perspectives on Developing Other Regional and Global Statelessness Coalitions

In: Tilburg Law Review
Author: Chris Nash 1
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  • 1 1International Protection Policy Coordinator, Asylum Aid Coordinator, European Network on Statelessness, info@statelessness.eu

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Until recently, there was no regional civil society alliance dedicated exclusively to addressing statelessness. This changed with the advent of the European Network on Statelessness (ENS), which has attracted fifty non-governmental organization (NGOs) members since its public launch in June 2012. Aside from vindicating the need for such a coordinating body in the region, the development of ENS also offers several useful perspectives on how networks can serve as effective generators for change and as forums to help overcome a historical lack of awareness of, or even indifference to, the plight of stateless persons. This article explores the importance of awareness-raising and the gains possible through finding diverse and multiple entry points to approach the issue. It reflects on these lessons and the challenges that remain, including their potential to help inform an emerging discussion around the need to develop an international coalition of actors dedicated to combatting statelessness. The article concludes that only through working together will it be possible to make real progress towards achieving the recently articulated ambition by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to eradicate statelessness within a decade.

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