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The right to nationality

The right to nationality is a fundamental human right recognized under international law. This law refers to the right of every person to have a legally recognized connection to a particular country or nation, which includes the right to acquire, change, or retain one's nationality.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, recognizes the right to nationality in Article 15, which states that "Everyone has the right to a nationality."

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights also recognize the right to nationality, and many countries have incorporated this right into their national laws and constitutions. ©Mike. Photo CC.

The right to nationality is important because it enables individuals to fully participate in society and enjoy their human rights. Without a legally recognized nationality, individuals may face obstacles in accessing education, employment, healthcare, and other essential services. They may also be unable to exercise their political rights, such as the right to vote or stand for office.

However, in practice, not everyone enjoys the right to nationality. Discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, or other factors can prevent individuals from acquiring or retaining their nationality, leading to statelessness. Statelessness can have severe consequences, including denial of basic rights and exclusion from society. To address these issues, international human rights law recognizes the right to a nationality and calls on states to take steps to ensure that everyone is able to enjoy this right.


This article has been published as part of the Podcast'Inc project, which is funded under the Erasmus+ program of the European Union.

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