60 years on - The 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness

Event recording - Online roundtable to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 1961 Convention and discuss its history, evolution and continuing relevance.


On 16 September 2021, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness were pleased to offer this event featuring an expert panel.  Panelists  discussed various facets of the 1961 Convention, including:

  • how and why the substantive provisions of the 1961 Convention were negotiated and developed;
  • the kinds of commitments made and actions taken by States in recent years to prevent and reduce statelessness in line with the 1961 Convention;
  • the potential of the 1961 Convention to completely resolve statelessness within a generation if its Articles 1 – 4 were to be universally applied;
  • how the 1961 Convention helped one particular family avoid statelessness.


Laura van Waas (event moderator) Assistant Professor, Department of European and International Law at Tilburg Law School & Founder and Co-Director of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion

Benyam Dawit Mezmur, Academic specialist in children's rights law and member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Melanie J. Khanna, Chief of the Statelessness Section in the Division of International Protection at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at its Headquarters in Geneva.

Michelle Foster, Professor and inaugural Director of the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness at Melbourne Law School.

Sarah Dale, Centre Director and Principal Solicitor at the Refugee Advice & Casework Service (RACS).

Katie Robertson, Research Fellow at the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness and Coordinator of the Stateless Children Legal Clinic at Melbourne Law School.

In addition, the event featured a Special Announcement by Fadi Chalouhy, the first stateless person to be granted an Australian skilled migrant visa through the 'Talent Beyond Boundaries' program.