UNHCR welcomes Togo’s decision to intensify its fight against statelessness

22 July 2021 | Español | Français | عربي

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, applauds Togo's accession to the two UN Conventions on Statelessness.

Togo has now become the latest country to join the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, helping to advance the global fight to end statelessness.

Statelessness, the situation of people who are not recognized as citizens by any country, is a global phenomenon that continues to affect millions of people worldwide, leaving them marginalized and highly vulnerable.

In depositing instruments of accession to both treaties on 14 July, Togo signaled its political will to tackle the root causes of statelessness as well as its support for UNHCR’s #IBelong Campaign to End Statelessness by 2024.

The move comes as the international community marks the 60th anniversary of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness and as UNHCR is stepping up advocacy efforts on the issue generally.

“I congratulate Togo for acceding to the two UN statelessness conventions,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi. “This step demonstrates Togo’s strong commitment to improving the lives of stateless people throughout the country and helping to eliminate statelessness around the world.”

“Togo’s accession builds on the great momentum in West Africa’s fight against statelessness”.

Togo and other West African States had previously adopted the 2015 Abidjan Declaration of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State on the eradication of statelessness in West Africa, and the 2017 Banjul Plan of Action to Eradicate Statelessness.

Its accession last week to the two UN conventions is in line with its commitments to the ongoing reform of the Togolese nationality code to make it consistent with international standards that prevent and reduce statelessness, including by ensuring equal nationality rights to women when it comes to their ability to acquire, retain, and confer their nationality.

Notes to the editor:

There are at least 1.6 million stateless people or people of undetermined nationality, across West Africa, according to information provided by countries in the region.

Worldwide, UNHCR’s statistical reporting counts 4.2 million stateless people in some 94 countries. Given that most countries do not collect any data on statelessness, the actual figure is believed to be substantially higher.

Stateless people are often unable to access documentation and critical services, ranging from education, health care and vaccinations, among many others. Their lack of status can negatively impact all aspects and phases of their lives, from birth to death.