Minorities and Statelessness

The UNHCR estimates that more than 75 per cent of the world’s known stateless persons belong to minority groups. For many minorities, the causes of long-term in situ statelessness are linked to discriminatory laws, policies or practices.

Against this background, the Centre is investigating the interconnections between minorities’ legal status, discrimination and social inclusion. Centre staff have actively engaged with the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, including participation at an expert roundtable in Bangkok (April 2018) and the Eleventh Session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues (November 2018), which specifically focused on statelessness.

Among other things, our staff have conducted research into the statelessness situation of ethnic Vietnamese minority populations in Cambodia. The Centre also hosted a roundtable to lay the ground for a comparative research agenda on minority statelessness, focusing specifically on Cambodia and Myanmar

  • Michelle Foster and Timnah Baker, ‘Racial Discrimination in Nationality Laws: A Doctrinal Blind-Spot of International Law?” (2020) 11(1) Columbia Journal of Race and Law, forthcoming Fall 2020.
  • Christoph Sperfeldt, ‘Minorities and Statelessness: Social Exclusion and Citizenship in Cambodia’ (2020) 27(1) International Journal on Minority and Group Rights 94-120.
  • Michelle Foster and Kirsty Gover, ‘Determining Membership: Aboriginality and Alienage in the Australian High Court’, 31 (2) Public law Review forthcoming July 2020
  • Christoph Sperfeldt, ‘Cambodia’ in Olivier Vonk (ed), Nationality Law in the Eastern Hemisphere: Acquisition and Loss of Citizenship in Asian Perspective (Wolf Legal Publishers, 2018) 91-115.
  • Michelle Foster and Jade Roberts, ‘Manufacturing Foreigners: The law and politics of transforming citizens into migrants’ in Catherine Dauvergne (ed), Research Handbook on the Law and Politics of Migration (Edward Elgar) forthcoming 2021.

For further information about this project, please contact the team via law-statelessness@unimelb.edu.au