The Stateless Syrians

34 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2013

See all articles by Zahra Albarazi

Zahra Albarazi

Statelessness Programme - Tilburg University

Date Written: May 24, 2013


On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the census that created one of the world’s largest and most protracted stateless populations - the Syrian stateless Kurds - this paper considers how the country fares on the question of statelessness today. Syria stands at a critical juncture now that the political and social dynamics of the country, which had been at a stalemate for more than half a century, are changing rapidly. It is therefore a particularly opportune time to assess the potential for addressing statelessness in the country.

This report will first offer an analysis of Syria's nationality legislation from the perspective of the prevention and reduction of statelessness. It will then assess the causes underlying the rendering stateless of such a large community, looking additionally at severe protection consequences this had for affected persons and families. As will be seen, both of these issues are embedded in a broader atmosphere of discrimination towards the ethnic Kurds in Syria. The report will then go on to explore how, after half a century of exclusion, possible solutions may now be in sight for the stateless Kurds. The report will look both at the impact of a decree that is allowing members of the community to naturalize but also at the many issues that remain unanswered by this initiative, particularly the exclusion of a significant proportion of stateless Kurds from the decree and access to this procedure.

Keywords: Syria, Kurds, Statelessness

Suggested Citation

Albarazi, Zahra, The Stateless Syrians (May 24, 2013). Tilburg Law School Research Paper No. 011/2013, Available at SSRN: or

Zahra Albarazi (Contact Author)

Statelessness Programme - Tilburg University ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, DC Noord-Brabant 5000 LE

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