Customary International Law Requiring States to Grant Nationality to Stateless Children Born in Their Territory
In the most recent few years, state practice and opinio juris are increasingly converging to affirm that states must grant nationality to children born in their territory if they would otherwise be stateless. In prior scholarship, this author has argued that there is a customary international law norm requiring states to grant nationality in such cases. Certainly, UNHCR’s #IBelong campaign is a significant part of this development, placing statelessness back on the international agenda, as well as encouraging states to adhere to the statelessness conventions, adopt birth registration and statelessness determination procedures and revise domestic law. Partly due to this campaign, states are increasingly adopting practice and domestic law that provides for nationality from birth for stateless children but are also increasingly stating their opinion that such an approach is desirable, necessary and morally compelling. In fact, it is effectively impossible to identify any state that claims it has the unfettered right to refuse to grant nationality to a stateless child born in its territory. This article will complete a brief survey of recent practice and expressions of opinion, mostly as documented by UNHCR as a part of the #IBelong Campaign to End Statelessness, to confirm that this norm continues to strengthen under customary international law.