Conference: Statelessness and Transcontinental Migration 24th – 25th July 2014

Conference: Statelessness and Transcontinental Migration 24th – 25th July 2014

This conference focuses on a range of issues related to the wellbeing and recognition of people who traverse continents devoid of citizenship. Issues related to refugees remain crucially unanswered in debates and policies surrounding migration. In the wake of acknowledgement within the academy that it is not always possible to isolate refugees from migrants, this conference analyses a range of contexts where dignity and human rights are compromised through the absence of legal and political recognition. By focusing on situations of extreme vulnerability and on lives lived on the borderline, this conference seeks to articulate and address urgent needs with regard to the stateless migrants who have entered Europe.

Keynote speakers:

Professor Eduard Sagarra i Trias, ‘The Necessity of Immigration in the Globalized World’, President of the United Nations Associations of Spain (ANUE), Barcelona / University of Barcelona Professor Khadija Elmadmad, ‘Statelessness and Migration: The Case of de facto and de jure stateless children in Morocco’, Director of The UNESCO Centre, The Law and Migration (CUDM),
Please confirm attendance by emailing with full name and ID number by July 21st
NOTE: The full program of the Conference will shortly be available on UNU-GCM’s website.


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on Globalization, Culture and
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Sant Manuel Pavilion
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C/ Sant Antoni Maria Claret, 167
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Statelessness and Migration

 The Case of De Facto and De Jure Stateless Children in Morocco

Paper presented By Khadija Elmadmad[1] At The Stateless Conference

Organized by

The United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility (UNU-GCM)

Barcelona, 24 and 25 July 2014


It is generally very difficult for a person to live as de jure or as de facto stateless. It is more difficult for a child to live as stateless and even much more difficult to live as a stateless migrant child. This situation results in three kinds of vulnerabilities: statelessness vulnerability, childhood vulnerability and migration vulnerability. It requires the protection of three kinds of rights: the rights of stateless persons, of children and of migrants.

A fieldwork conducted in Morocco with some Moroccan de facto stateless children and with some Sub-Saharan de jure and de facto stateless migrant children showed that, though the legal status of these two categories of children are different in theory, their needs for protection of rights are almost the same in  practice. Both categories live on the margin of the society and without rights. As stateless and undocumented, they are invisible both in the literature and in the actions relating to children and/or to migrants. Their rights need to be known and promoted.

This presentation will deal first with statelessness in general and with the relative invisibility of stateless people and of their rights throughout the world. It will then analyze the case of statelessness in Morocco and will focus on stateless children and their rights and notably the case of Moroccan and Sub-Saharan de facto stateless and undocumented children and their need for protection and assistance.

Statelessness and Migration

 The Case of De facto and De Jure Stateless Children in Morocco 

Khadija Elmadmad



 Clarifying the terminology

–  The problematic definition of de facto statelessness

–  Statelessness in the world and in Morocco: a problem of rights

–  The vulnerability of stateless children


A          Few cases of de jure stateless

  1. Positive legal developments in favor of “Moroccan” de jure statelessness
  2. Very few de jure stateless cases among the Sub-Saharan migrant children

B          De facto stateless and undocumented children

  1. The case of non-registered Moroccan children
  2. De facto stateless and undocumented Sub-Saharan migrant children


A          No proper legal protection for stateless and undocumented children

  1. The lacuna of rights of the non-registered Moroccan children
  2. The drama of the de facto stateless Sub-Saharan migrant children

B          The risks of statelessness and of denial of rights

  1. The shortages of the new Moroccan citizenship Code
  2. The difficult naturalization and regularization


–          For a better protection of statelessness in Morocco

–          For more  promotion of undocumented children’s rights throughout the world

[1]Khadija ELMADMAD is a Law Professor and an Advocate. She is at present the Director of the UNESCO Centre “The Law and Migration” (CUDM), which is based in Rabat ( She was before the Tenure of the UNESCO Chair “Migration and Human Rights” at Casablanca University, the Chair of the Rabat based Moroccan NGO “Migration and the Law” and the Coordinator of the Casablanca Law Faculty Postgraduate Programme on “Migration and the Law”. Her .c.Contact is :;  Prof. ELMADMAD is part of the jury of  the UNHCR Award for Statelessness Research, information on this award is available at:, which is organized by the Tilburg University Stateless Program, see information on this programme at :