Ending statelessness in Europe - meeting new and old friends at the ENS conference in Madrid

  • 22 June 2023
  • 2 replies
Ending statelessness in Europe - meeting new and old friends at the ENS conference in Madrid
Userlevel 4

We went to Madrid - and all we got was … so much! New food for thought and insight on statelessness, so many new allies, synergies and friends working on statelessness and so much new inspiration 💛

The European Network on Statelessness and everyone involved outdid themselves with the organization of this year’s conference “Addressing Statelessness in Europe”, which took place in Madrid on 8th and 9th of June 2023. Invited were over 200 participants from 34 countries - (almost) all working on statelessness.

Stateless changemakers, NGOs, lawyers, academics and European as well as national government representatives spent two days focussing only on statelessness - a topic so often overlooked. Statefree feels honoured to be part of this great network and getting to meet all these brilliant people dedicating their time to this important human rights issue. Besides the conference being incredibly inspiring and informative, it was packed with real experts on the topic, which allowed for discussions not just on a general but on a very deep and specific level. The conference offered a great variety of different formats addressing statelessness:

  • Workshops in which a more detailed understanding of topics were pursued, e.g. about country of origin information, how to ensure every child’s right to nationality, existing statelessness determination procedures (SDPs) and how to best bring about new SDPs in countries that do not have one yet as well as the intersectionality of statelessness e.g. with the LGBTIQ+ community. These spaces allowed for individual conversations and brainstorming in smaller groups, which made it easier to spot synergies between the different organizations present. 
  • Panels with various stateless changemakers, experts on statelessness and representatives of the European Council, European Parliament, Asylum Agency as well as UNHCR and national government representatives enabled discussions on a political level and an insight in how statelessness is addressed in today's politics. Every government and political representative present agreed that statelessness is a human rights issue needing to be addressed properly. Nonetheless, a small aftertaste remains: they have been agreeing on this for a long time - effective and aligned change still has yet to happen. 
  • End of the day drinks to mingle, continue the conversations in a less formal setting, enjoy great tapas and catch up with friends.


The conference was preceded by a more intimate two days Annual General Conference (AGC), which brings together the ENS network members (only organizations and individual members working on statelessness, including stateless changemakers). In this more intimate setting we learned about the strong and brilliant interventions from stateless changemakers, spoke about strategies and collaborative efforts and experienced community building. A special highlight for our team was a beautiful workshop facilitated by Amna on wellbeing and safer spaces. We learned about identity-informed and trauma-sensitive approaches to working with people affected by statelessness and displacement. 

We learned so much and will definitely be able to transfer a lot of things to our Statefree work! Let’s #Endstatelessness together!

What were your highlights @Lynn,  @Aleksandra@Aleksejs and @everyone that was present and would like to share :) 


2 replies

Userlevel 2

The main highlight in my view is how awesome we were as a team, in our impact in the event, contributions and insights. In many ways it felt like we led it, along with our great partner ENS ☺️

Userlevel 4

so so true, @Aleksejs! :)