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Nowhere to go: Europe's 600,000 stateless people

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(Originally published by Contributoria and Equal Times)

Imagine living in a country that refuses to accept your right to exist as an ordinary citizen under the law. Although you have committed no crime, you are denied the right to work, buy a home, marry, vote or do any of the things most people take for granted. To add to your misery, there is nowhere you could travel to obtain these rights because no state in the world is prepared to grant you citizenship.

The US Supreme Court once described the act of making someone stateless “a punishment worse than torture”, yet in Europe alone an estimated 600,000 people live like this already. Despite ratifying the 1954 UN Statelessness Convention, Britain is no exception. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) there are more than 12,000 stateless people in the UK, all of whom are at daily risk of human rights abuses.

Sylvain (not his real name) has lived in the UK since 2000. He was born out of wedlo…