Nationality is a legal bond between a state and an individual, and statelessness refers to the condition of an individual who is not considered as a national by any state. Although stateless people may sometimes also be refugees, the two categories are distinct and both groups are of concern to UNHCR.
Statelessness occurs for a variety of reasons including discrimination against minority groups in nationality legislation, failure to include all residents in the body of citizens when a state becomes independent (state succession) and conflicts of laws between states.
Statelessness is a massive problem that affects at least 10 million people worldwide. Statelessness also has a terrible impact on the lives of individuals. Possession of nationality is essential for full participation in society and a prerequisite for the enjoyment of the full range of human rights.
While human rights are generally to be enjoyed by everyone, selected rights such as the right to vote may be limited to nationals. Of even greater concern is that many more rights of stateless people are violated in practice - they are often unable to obtain identity documents; they may be detained because they are stateless; and they could be denied access to education and health services or blocked from obtaining employment.
This is why Palestine matters. Statehood makes the difference between self-determination, and slavery at the hands of another's government. The details of Israel-Palestine don't make it an exception to the rule. There is no excuse in the world from 3000 years ago or 70 years ago to justify abusing the human rights of innocent people today, anywhere in the world. And if it does happen anywhere, it needs to be stopped.
Edited by Yamato, 04 April 2014 - 01:54 AM.