MANLIO DI STEFANO, MEMBER OF THE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
I very much welcomed the opportunity to speak at the recent European Network on Statelessness (ENS) conference in Budapest on 4-5 May which launched their new report ‘Protecting Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention – An Agenda for Change’ and related #LockedInLimbo campaign.
Both the report and the conference higlighted many stories of those locked up in detention for long periods of time simply because they don’t have a nationality. The ENS report underlines how we are avoiding our international obligations to protect people with no nationality, and instead subjecting these men, women and even children, to unlawful detention.
Arbitrary detention has severe and long-lasting effects on the mental health of those detained. The stories I read about in the report are truly disturbing and distressing, and I believe that everyone would find it unacceptable if they knew what was happening in detention centres across Europe.
A growing number of my parliamentary colleagues are also becoming aware of the specific challenges facing stateless people and we will have further opportunity to focus on these concerns next month when I report back to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly on this issue.
At the conference in Budapest I publicly signed and endorsed ENS’s #LockedInLimbo campaign statement which calls on European Governments to end the arbitrary detention of stateless people, and which outlines five key recommendations to help achieve this.
I believe we must all work together to achieve this fundamental goal, and would add my voice in encouraging other interested organisations to also sign the below statement and help support this important campaign.
Join the #LockeInLimbo coalition.