Up to 15 million people worldwide do not have a nationality. They do not belong to any country and are not recognised as a citizen by any state.
Those individuals are referred to as stateless people.
Learn more about …
What is Statelessness?
What Causes Statelessness?
Challenges & Barriers
What is Statelessness?
Statelessness describes the condition of not being recognized as a citizen or national by any state. However, to belong to a state through the means of nationality is fundamental in a world ordered into nation-states.
Stateless is “a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law”
– Article 1 of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons
If a nationality is often a prerequisite for accessing citizenship rights, what then are the implications and consequences of not having any nationality?
Statelessness – and its related effects such as not having an identity card and/or passport – affects lives in multiple and diverse ways. Traveling without a passport is nearly impossible; accessing education, health care and a secure residence permit can be very difficult, depending on one’s country of residence. Then there are also seemingly banal things like opening a bank account, verifying one’s identity online or picking up a parcel – all moments in which stateless persons are reminded of the fact that the system was not built to include them.
Statelessness can have complex and complicated effects on individual lives, families and whole communities – effects that also vary depending on how states deal with matters of statelessness: how they prevent and identify cases of statelessness, and the rights and protection given to stateless people.
Frequently asked questions about Anny Faice
Why does Anny Faice exist?
Anny Faice exists to increase awareness for and visibility around statelessness! Her goal is to draw attention to the issue of statelessness, the experiences of stateless individuals and also to the incredible work that is done by actors in the sector. Furthermore, Anny Faice will create visibility for the political change and transformation that is needed to improve the rights of stateless persons.
Why would we need a Social AI-Activist for this?
In today’s world of high frequency communication and information overload it is becoming increasingly hard to cut through the noise and create visibility for issues like statelessness – that have been traditionally overlooked. On the other hand, visibility is needed to make the public and politicians aware of the necessity for change. As a small organisation with limited capacity, communication and media outreach has become an increasing challenge for Statefree. Hence, the AI-generated nature of Anny Face supports content creation and communication for Statefree and simultaneously represents a chance to use Artificial Intelligence for positive social change.
What exactly is an “AI-Activist”?
The description of Anny Faice as an Social AI-Activist refers to the fact that Anny Faice was created as a digital character which operates on the basis of Artificial Intelligence.
This means that her appearance as well as her text-based communication is generated through AI. But this does not mean that Anny Faice operates without human monitoring and safety measures such as “human approval” of data and statements.
In short: Anny Faice is not a real person but an artificially generated character for digital communication.
How or from where does Anny Faice generate the information on statelessness?
Anny Faice – the AI-generated activist – works with a specifically created owned database. This database was co-created by Statefree in collaboration with stateless community members. The data has been validated by Statefree and can be updated and altered at any time. The current information and resources include publicly available content from trusted sources such as the Statefree Community blog, publicly published academic papers, publications from the European Network, the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion and other actors.
Outlook: Statefree is currently working on a format and process that enables stronger participation in the development of the database and therefore allows more Community members (organisations and individuals) to contribute to the database.
Who is “Cosmonauts & Kings”?
Cosmonauts & Kings (C&K) is an agency for political communication & consulting – digital by default. C&K specialises in communicating political and social concerns for politics (public), business (private) and society (civic) in an effective and relevant way and does this where opinions are formed – in the digital public sphere. It is the only agency on the German market that works for clients from the entire public arena, i.e. the private, public and civic sectors. Its core services include consulting as well as the development and implementation of strategies and campaigns.
Why did Cosmonauts & Kings and Statefree decide to collaborate on this?
The current AI debate focuses primarily on economic aspects or secondarily on societal implications. There is little interest in the meaningful, beneficial use of AI in the political context. Instead, mainly negative use cases such as disinformation campaigns have been discussed. While it is not in our interest to neglect the very important, critical debate about artificial intelligence, we have decided to proactively work on a positive use case. This means that Cosmonauts & Kings and Statefree want to counter this narrative by providing best case examples in which Artificial intelligence is able to support and scale positive impact – in this case for social good. The presence of Anny Faice on Twitter is the first attempt for this.
What technology is behind the AI Activist?
Anny Faice is powered by GPT-3.5-Turbo, the powerful technology behind OpenAI’s popular chatbot ChatGPT. Context is augmented with relevant documents,and the model is able to use memory to answer follow-up questions. In addition to context, the model is instructed to answer questions and create content that conforms to certain standards for language and values.
How can I and/or my organisation engage with Anny Faice?
On Twitter Anny Faice will post information but will also interact with other relevant stakeholders. If you are interested in also interacting with your Twitter account, please reach out to us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Challenges & Barriers for Stateless Persons
Statefree wants to put statelessness on the societal and political agenda.
We want to make sure that the most relevant experts on statelessness are adequately represented in solution findings: stateless persons.
Statelessness is a highly intersectional topic, boardering close to the terms refugee, asylum seeker, and displaced person as they all represent different facets of forced migration.
While all individuals described by these terms share some, to sometimes a lot of, similarities, for example the lack of a clear national identity and the challenge of being displaced, it is important to realize the unique challenges that arise from each one of these residency status in order to best deal with them.
This is even more important in cases that fall into more than one category of the following.
In the international legal understanding, a refugee is a person who has been forced to flee their home country because of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. The official definition can be found in the Geneva Convention on Refugees. Some international organisations and states also consider war and violence reasons for fleenig ones home country.
An asylum seeker is someone who has fled their home country and is seeking protection in another country, although their claim to a refugee status has not yet been determined. While their claim is being processed, asylum seekers are entitled to certain rights. They may have difficulty accessing basic services and may be at risk of deportation if their claim is denied.
The term displaced person is used to describe people who either fall outside the narrower definition of a refugee – or, in the sense of “internally displaced persons”, are people who have been forced to flee their homes but have not crossed an international border. Displaced persons do not enjoy the same legal status as refugees and may face additional challenges in accessing assistance and protection.
A stateless person is someone who does not have a recognised nationality or citizenship and is therefore ineligible for many basic rights and protections. Stateless persons may have difficulty accessing education, health care and employment and are at risk of arbitrary detention or deportation.
Lived Experience #1: Female, nurse, 38 years old.
Fled war in Lebanon; in Germany for 36 years; travel document for stateless persons and residence permit revoked.
In 1986, the now 38-year-old nurse fled with her family from the war in Lebanon. Due to the war, her birth was certified by a midwife but not officially authenticated, leaving her without a recognized birth certificate. In 1990, the family received permanent residence permits and travel documents for stateless persons. Both were revoked some 15 years later because employees of the foreigners authority suspected that she had Turkish ancestors. Turkish authorities deny that the nurse is or could become a Turkish citizen. Nevertheless, her right of residence has been withdrawn and she is merely tolerated. She is repeatedly threatened with the revocation of her work permit, heavy fines and deportation. The resulting existential fear is compounded by the impossibility of family planning, since the status of unclear identity or statelessness would be passed on to her children. Access to naturalization remains denied because documents are not waived in the evidentiary process despite their special situation and statelessness.
Live Experience #2: Male, musician, approx. 40 years old.
Victim of human trafficking and thus stateless; has been living in Germany for 33 years without clarified identity and statelessness and therefore only tolerated
In 1990, the now approx. 43-year-old musician arrived in Germany at the age of about five. As a victim of human trafficking, he was abducted after his birth and his right to an identity was violated. For 18 years, the musician has been living in Germany with an unclear nationality and therefore only has a toleration. Although the Aliens Department is aware that he is a stateless survivor of human trafficking, his identity continues to be considered unclear, with no means of cooperation or evidence of a country of origin other than Germany. A DNA test was done to clarify his identity, but without success. Although he was left behind as a child and found homeless in Germany as a child, he was denied the right to German citizenship. Even without evidence and concrete steps to cooperate, documentary evidence of birth is required.
Live Experience #3: Female, alternative practitioner, 29 years old.
Kurdish woman; fled Iraq; refugee status; no possibility of naturalization due to lack of identity documents.
The Kurdish woman fled from Iraq to Germany with her family in 1996 at the age of three. Her birth was not registered in Iraq, so she does not have a birth certificate. She has had refugee status in Germany since 1996, now with a permanent residence permit. Due to lack of identity documents, she could not complete her studies and education for a long time. So far, her naturalization applications have been rejected due to the missing birth certificate. However, the possibilities of clarifying her identity seem to be exhausted since no birth certificate exists. The Iraqi Embassy also stated that the Republic of Iraq has no jurisdiction over her and her family in any way. Despite the repeated rejections, the psychologist and her family are not given the opportunity to clarify their identity and statelessness without a birth certificate. After more than 20 years, the citizenship authority decided that because the family belongs to the Kurdish minority, other countries of origin besides Iraq are eligible, namely Turkey and Iran. Once again, “negative facts must be proven,” even though her family never resided in Turkey or Iran and has no connection to these countries.
Art & Culture: IMAGINE
Together with Florian Schwarz and 14 stateless people in seven different countries, we created our first exhibition project: IMAGINE. An exhibition portraying stateless people in an authentic and empowered way.
The launch of the exhibition took place in Constance at a state border.
You want to bring the exhibition to your city? Contact us.
Statelessness is a human rights issue affecting up to 15 million people world wide. The issue is solvable – through political change and transformation. Because in n a world governed and organised by nation states, living without a nationality equates to a life without access to the most basic human rights: stateless people are often lacking the right to work, to travel, to get married or to vote.
Advocacy means to publicly support and defend a certain cause. In our case: statelessness. This is exactly what we aim to do: We want to stand up and fight for the rights and fair treatment of stateless people. Stateless people often have no place to turn to, as no institution, no body of government represents them or promotes and protects their rights.
Politics decide who has access to certain rights and who doesn’t. Therefore, we have decided to broaden our areas of work – and in a sense our horizons as a new organisation – and start doing policy work and what is referred to as political “advocacy”.
Germany is modernizing its citizenship law
Our Comment on the Draft Bill
Currently, German citizenship law is being reformed. Statefree aims to utilise this window of opportunity and ensure access to naturalisation for stateless people.
With this goal in mind, we co-developed four main demands together with our community members and external partners and submitted an official comment on the government’s draft bill:
Statefree’s journey began with a single thought. It was important to us to create a space where affected people could support each other, exchange experiences and share their knowledge.
But in order to create true empowerment, stateless people need access to their rights. With the right support from JoinPolitics and a wonderful team, we started our advocacy journey at the beginning of 2022.
Become part of our journey and follow us
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