April 22, 2021 @ 5:30 pm – 7:15 pm

The right to have rights? Perspectives on statelessness in the UK and beyond

Thursday 22nd April 2021 

5.30pm – 7.15pm   


To register for this online event please click here


We invite you to join the Human Rights Lawyers Association on 22 April 2021 to hear an expert panel share their insights into the human rights implications of statelessness.

The year 2021 marks both the centenary of the 1921 decree denationalising certain Russian citizens abroad and 80 years since the 11th decree of 1941 under the Nuremberg Laws deprived German Jews outside German territory of their citizenship. Today it is estimated that at least 10 million people in the world are stateless. Statelessness can arise in a multitude of contexts, from state dissolution to the application of patriarchal nationality laws and severe “citizenship-stripping” measures. There are common themes that emerge, such as a disproportionate impact on minoritised groups, and difficulty in accessing fundamental rights, and services.

In the UK and around the world, activists, lawyers, academics, and others are working to develop the legal protections available to stateless persons, to tackle the root causes of statelessness, and to empower those affected by it. This event examines contemporary issues in the UK and beyond, such as efforts to have statelessness recognised as a human rights matter, and the issues hindering the protection of stateless persons in the UK, identified in UNHCR’s 2020 report on the UK’s dedicated statelessness determination procedure. We will also explore the responsibility of legislators against the backdrop of the recent judgment of the Supreme Court in the UK in the case of Shamima Begum, which placed a spotlight on the precarity of citizenship, as well as other topics. Drawing on the wide-ranging expertise of our panel, we will consider the impact of statelessness on individuals’ lives, specific challenges to accessing rights, and the way forward for legal work and activism in this field.


Amal de Chickera is a co-director and co-founder of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, the sole human rights organisation dedicated to working on statelessness and the right to a nationality globally. Amal has been researching, writing, speaking, and serving as an expert on statelessness and related issues for the UN, NGOs, and academia since 2008. Amal is a human rights lawyer and member of the Sri Lankan Bar. He currently teaches a postgraduate course on statelessness and the right to nationality at Middlesex University London.

Christiana Bukalo is a stateless activist based in Germany and Senior Program and Business Development Manager at Global Digital Women. Christiana is currently building a ground-breaking online platform called Statefree.world aiming to bridge the communication gap between those working on statelessness and those experiencing it. Christiana has worked closely with the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion and is a trustee of the European Network on Statelessness.

Eric Fripp is a barrister at The 36 Group specialising in refugee law, immigration, nationality, and human rights law. Eric has appeared in numerous leading cases and undertakes advocacy at all levels of domestic and international court or tribunal, as well as advisory work. He is recognised internationally as an expert on nationality and statelessness and their interaction with international human rights instruments. Eric’s publications include Nationality and Statelessness in the International Law of Refugee Status (2016) and The Law and Practice of Expulsion and Exclusion from the United Kingdom (2014).

Johanna Bezzano is a lecturer at the University of Liverpool and solicitor at the Liverpool Law Clinic. She has wide-ranging expertise in assisting stateless people in the UK to secure immigration status and co-authored the report ‘Statelessness in Practice: Implementation of the UK Statelessness Application Procedure’ (2018)’. Jo previously worked in immigration and asylum law specialising in representing unaccompanied children seeking asylum and has also worked in the Solomon Islands as a lawyer and for the Department of International Development in the UK.

Judith Carter is a lecturer at the University of Liverpool and solicitor at the Liverpool Law Clinic, where she works on applications by individual clients for a statelessness residence permit through the UK’s statelessness determination procedure. Judith has extensive experience of advocacy in this field and co-authored the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association’s guide ‘Statelessness and applications for leave to remain: a best practice guide’ (2016). She also engages in training students and legal practitioners.

Khadija Badri is the Advocacy and Communications Officer at the European Network on Statelessness, a civil society alliance of over 160 organisations and experts in 41 countries dedicated to ending statelessness. Khadija works on advocacy and ENS’ direct engagement with stateless people. She has been at the forefront of ENS’ work on childhood statelessness and previously worked for Save the Children. Khadija holds a master’s degree in Migration and Development from SOAS and has volunteered with various organisations assisting refugees and asylum seekers.

There will be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions.

This event is organised by Camila Zapata Besso, Marianne Schönle, and Rebecca Hacker, members of the Executive Committee and Young Lawyers Committee of the HRLA.

The HRLA is grateful to One Pump Court, who will kindly be hosting this event on Zoom.