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UNHCR to host stateless aid summit

2011-11-08 21:18

Geneva - Senior ministers will gather next month for a major conference on helping the world's 12 million "stateless" people, the UN refugee agency said on Tuesday.

Hosting the meeting set for December 7 and 8 in Geneva, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees hopes to sign up further member countries to its convention on the reduction of statelessness, which marks its 50th anniversary this year.

The agency defines as stateless anyone who is not considered as a national by any state and is therefore often denied his or her rights and access to services and jobs. This can include refugees.

Foreign ministers and refugee and immigration officials will attend the meeting, along with at least one as yet unnamed head of state.

"UNHCR has been urging UN member states to increase accessions, and a historic treaty event to facilitate further accessions is planned for December 7," the agency said in a statement announcing the conference.

"It is also envisaged that states and others will use the meeting to make new commitments and consider new ways to deal with emerging challenges," it said.

The 1961 convention currently has 40 signatories.