Nationality is a legal bond between a state and an individual, and statelessness refers to the condition of an individual who is not considered as a national by any state.
Statelessness occurs for a variety of reasons including discrimination against minority groups in nationality legislation, failure to include all residents in the body of citizens when a state becomes independent and conflicts of laws between states.
Statelessness is a massive problem that affects an estimated 12 million people worldwide. Statelessness also has a terrible impact on the lives of individuals. Possession of nationality is essential for full participation in society and a prerequisite for the enjoyment of the full range of human rights.
While human rights are generally to be enjoyed by everyone, selected rights such as the right to vote may be limited to nationals. Of even greater concern is that many more rights of stateless people are violated in practice - they are often unable to obtain identity documents; they may be detained because they are stateless; and they could be denied access to education and health services or blocked from obtaining employment.