by Samantha Sitterley (USL Attorney), Martine Kalaw (USL Member), & Karina Ambartsoumian-Clough (USL Executive Director)
Statelessness is a global issue for between four and ten million people worldwide. Global conflicts and other issues deny stateless people citizenship in any country. That’s despite the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which includes the right to a nationality.
It goes almost without saying, but everybody should have a right to a country. When you deny somebody a flag and home soil, you deny them the right to feel pride in their country. You deny them the right to put down roots and take full part in their communities. You deny them working rights and expose them to unacceptable risks through no fault of their own.
The movement to overcome statelessness also offers valuable lessons for philanthropy about centering the experiences of people with lived experience—not only in our specific field but beyond.