The International Observatory on Statelessness

Lives of Stateless People

Whether in Africa, Asia, Europe or elsewhere, stateless people have little if any voice in determining their future.  Paralysed by poverty and excluded from large sections of society, stateless people need to tell their stories.  More importantly, they need to have their stories heard by those who hold the tools to explore and implement solutions.

Though statelessness and citizenship are both abstract concepts, stateless people and the social injustices they endure are not.  They are tangible and visually translatable, which makes the oral and visual documentation of their lives an incredibly valuable and necessary aspect towards archiving and addressing the issue of global statelessness.

Visual and oral histories help to expose the insurmountable challenges and social injustices faced by stateless people.  The also reveal the ‘human face’ of this very abstract, dynamic and complex issue.   Such documentation can draw attention to the unmet humanitarian needs of each group and can be used to illuminate the larger themes that rest at the heart of many problems associated with statelessness above all discrimination, poverty, exclusion and intolerance.   It can also expose how, in spite of many obstacles stateless people manage to adapt and survive with dignity.

Greg Constantine