Policy Reports

UNU-GCM Policy Report Series 02 Summary

This research programme focuses on a range of issues related to the wellbeing and recognition of people who traverse continents devoid of citizenship. Issues related to refugees remain crucially unanswered in debates and policies surrounding migration. In the wake of acknowledgement within the academy that it is not always possible to isolate refugees from migrants, this programme analyses a range of contexts where dignity and human rights are compromised through the absence of legal and political recognition. By focusing on situations of extreme vulnerability and on lives lived on the borderline, this research programme seeks to articulate and address urgent needs with regard to the stateless migrants who have entered Europe. In conjunction with each research programme, UNU-GCM produces a series of Policy Reports. The current document provides a summary of the Policy Reports produced within the research programme for Statelessness and transcontinental migration.

 icon UNU-GCM Policy Reports Series 2 Summary (134.88 kB)

Author: Tendayi Bloom | Reference: UNU-GCM 02/01 | Date: 2013

UNU-GCM 02/01. Problematizing the Conventions on Statelessness

There are currently 79 states party to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, with a further 13 who have pledged accession in the near future.1 The 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, meanwhile, currently has 54 states party, and a further 21 pledges. These numbers rose particularly in 2000, and from 2011, following a push by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR). These conventions have arisen alongside the Convention and Protocol relating to Refugees, and yet have had quite a different trajectory. This report traces the history of these conventions and elements of the campaign for accession. It then examines some of the difficulties and conflicts in law and ideology that have arisen as a result of ratification or accession.

icon UNU-GCM 02/01 (515.02 kB)

Author: Tendayi Bloom | Reference: UNU-GCM 02/01 | Date: 2013

UNU-GCM 02/02. Is the Discussion of 'Statelessness' in the UN Security Council a Question of Human Security or International Security?

Statelessness is a particularly vulnerable condition in which individuals and peoples can encounter themselves in a situation where they are not considered as nationals of any state. Among a variety of factors, war, discrimination against minority groups, gender discrimination affecting the possibility to pass nationality to children, failure in the legislation of new states, and even climate change menacing the very existence of some states, can produce stateless individuals. Also, there are cases in which individuals and groups for various reasons could be unwilling to make use of their own citizenship. This report presents the results of both a content analyses of the United Nations (UN) official documents including discussions of "Statelessness", since 2000, and a discourse analysis of thirty-four documents of the UN Security Council (UNSC), in which the UN permanent and non-permanent members considered this issue in the agenda.

icon UNU-GCM 02/02 (735.07 kB) 

Author: Valeria Bello | Reference: UNU-GCM 02/02 | Date: 2013

UNU-GCM 02/03. Immigration Detention and Stateless Persons

Administrative detention occurs where a state arrests and detains an individual outside the criminal law context. A key example of this is immigration detention. Different groups are susceptible to immigration detention in different countries. For example, in some, asylum seekers are held while their claims are verified. In some, refused asylum seekers are held while deportation is arranged. Some states categorize irregular border crossing as itself a criminal offense, so that immigration detention becomes, at least in practice, a form of criminal detention. Others merely hold irregular border crossers while they arrange deportation. For stateless persons, this is particularly problematic. Without citizenship, stateless persons may be difficult to deport. As a result, they can find themselves in immigration detention for long periods of time or even indefinitely while they wait for a deportation that will in all likelihood not take place. This situation runs counter to International Law.

icon UNU-GCM 02/03 (1.16 MB)

Author: Tendayi Bloom | Reference: UNU-GCM 02/03 | Date: 2013

UNU-GCM 02/04. Extended Report: The Use of Private Companies to Enforce Migration Control Measures and Problems of Democratic Accountability

Migration control functions are increasingly being delegated to private actors, a phenomenon which particularly affects stateless persons. This report discusses two forms this takes. First, there is explicit delegation, through contracts with private actors to carry out roles that would otherwise be fulfilled by the state. This includes using information management companies in the processing of visa claims, and private security companies in the management of migration detention and border security. The second sort of delegation is implicit. This involves placing sanctions upon private actors in their dealings with migrants. While there are many forms of this type of delegation, this report focuses on carrier sanctions. It identifies an increasing privatization of migration control functions and asks what are its impacts on the most vulnerable migrants, particularly stateless persons and potential refugees. When migration control functions are delegated in this way, the line of responsibility for decisions and actions can be obscured. This report examines emerging measures in this area and concludes with some policy recommendations.

icon UNU-GCM 02/04 (2.45 MB)

Author: Tendayi Bloom | Reference: UNU-GCM 02/04 | Date: 2013

UNU-GCM 02/05. Transnationalism and New Media. Transcontinental Migrants and Interconnectivity of Cultures.

Since the early 1990s, transnationalism has been a strongly debated topic in political, social and economic sciences. This report aims to illustrate that, in the interest of everyone, also for those issues arising for migrants as individuals, policy-makers need to take into account new ameliorating practices to help improve integration. In particular, new technologies seem to offer further opportunities to improve immigrants' integration. This report suggests the idea that local governments should consider fair access to new technologies as a priority and national governments should also invest in this direction through external aid programs and external relations policies.

icon UNU-GCM 02/05 (593.06 kB)

Author: Valeria Bello | Reference: UNU-GCM 02/04 | Date: 2014

UNU-GCM 02/06.  Ambiguities in the Categories of Migration

This policy report considers the ambiguities of categories used in understanding and governing migration. It takes into account cases of migrants who might not clearly fall under existing migration-related categories and conventions; for instance, the experience of de facto statelessness or cases when one's citizenship or identity in a particular state is not recognized. Examples include migrant workers and trafficked persons whose identity documents are confiscated, internal migrants within nationstates and those who fall ambiguously in-between the definitions for refugees and economic migrants. This report will examine how policy can better address the challenges faced by migrants who find it difficult to access their fundamental rights as a consequence of being 'in limbo'. This will become an issue of increasing relevance as the forms and routes of migration diversify and grow ever more complex in the contemporary age of global interconnection.

icon UNU-GCM 02/06 (271.76 kB)

Author: Megha Amrith | Reference: UNU-GCM 02/06 | Date: 2014

UNU-GCM 02/07. Extended Report:Global Migration Governance Performance - A Decade of Change

This report offers a brief selective overview of the past decade's developments in global migration governance. It looks at how the coming together of three types of participants (States, civil society and international organizations) has constructed a new type of debate, with new sets of terms. It examines how these changes have affected international civil society interested in migration, both in driving civil society movement formation, and in civil society engagement with governmental debates. To do this, it analyzes the meaning of civil society and traces how civil society engagement has developed. It presents three moments of change: 2006, 2011 and 2013 and considers key associated processes. This helps to establish ongoing priorities. The report uses: desk-based analysis, participation at key events between 2012 and 2014, as well as semi-structured interviews in 2014. Rather than aiming to be comprehensive, it offers an illustrative overview. It concludes with some recommendations for moving forward.

icon UNU-GCM 02/07 (928.94 kB)

Author: Tendayi Bloom | Reference: UNU-GCM 02/07 | Date: 2014

UNU-GCM 02/08. Cities, Displacement and Stranded Migrants

This report examines the complex relationship between cities, displacement and stranded migrants, taking as a focus the recent social, political and demographic transformations in North Africa. Specifically it considers the population displacements in and out of Libyan and Tunisian cities during this period, which left many already vulnerable migrants without protection and in a situation of de facto statelessness. This report recommends policy interventions at regional, national and municipal levels that are resilient in times of humanitarian crisis and beyond, given that the region and its cities have long been, and will continue to be, places where diverse flows of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees converge.

icon UNU-GCM 02/08 (282.76 kB)

 Author: Megha Amrith | Reference: UNU-GCM 02/08 | Date: 2014

You are here: Home Publications Policy Reports Policy reports UNU-GCM Policy Reports Series 02. Statelessness and Transcontinental Migration

UNU Research Institutes and Training Centres

  • Details of UNU's Research and Training Centres can be found by clicking here.

Contact us

Sant Manuel Pavilion,
Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site,
C/Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167,
08025 Barcelona,
  • Tel: +34 935565991
  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Web: gcm.unu.edu
  • Web: unu.edu