We seek to advance the right to nationality for all by addressing the root causes of statelessness and the harms inflicted by denial and deprivation of citizenship.
Political participation, personal security, and social and economic opportunities increasingly hinge on the ability to prove citizenship or other forms of legal status.
The extraordinary power to denationalize and expel citizens is also expanding in many parts of the world and instances of mass deprivation of nationality are on the rise, leading to a substantial percentage of the world’s population that is effectively dehumanized, denied basic rights, and susceptible to human rights violations. The toxic global combination of authoritarianism, climate degradation, corporate power, and digital surveillance reinforce this ugly trend.
We work to constrain contemporary threats to the security of citizenship and to eliminate structural barriers that perpetuate hidden modes of exclusion and abuse. We use litigation, advocacy, and research to combat arbitrary deprivation of nationality, secure equal access to citizenship, and reform flawed identity documentation regimes.
We aim to connect with communities through legal empowerment initiatives designed to break down administrative barriers linked to historical patterns of discrimination against minorities and other vulnerable groups. We have played a leading role in mobilizing international efforts to eliminate statelessness, which deprives over 15 million people of access to economic and political rights.
Kenya’s Controversial Digital ID Scheme Faces Pushback
Kenya ushered in a national biometric ID system with little public input. Now, advocates are challenging the government in the courts to ensure inclusive policies and data privacy.
Thousands of Venezuelans are Stranded at the Colombia-Venezuela Border due to COVID-19
Thousands of Venezuelan migrants attempting to return to their home country remain stranded along the Colombia-Venezuela border during the COVID-19 pandemic, in a glaring example of how States are falling short of their international obligations.
A New Report Warns of Looming Threat to U.S. Citizenship, Calls for Moratorium on Denaturalizations
A new Open Society Justice Initiative report warns of a looming threat to U.S. citizenship due to the Trump administration’s effective renunciation of longstanding norms and constitutional protections.
Open Society Justice Initiative v. the United States Department of Justice et al.
The Justice Initiative has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to obtain records regarding activities and policies on the use of criminal and civil denaturalization of citizens, the revocation of derivative citizenship of family members, and policies and practice concerning statelessness in relation to denaturalization.
Zhao v. Netherlands
In the UN Human Rights Committee's first ever decision on the right of children to acquire nationality, it determined that by registering a child as “nationality unknown”, Dutch authorities violated his right to international protection and to seek a nationality.
Right to Nationality of Children Born in Colombia
Colombia's arbitrary denial of nationality to children born in Colombia to Venezuelan parents places children at risk of statelessness.
New Kenya High Court Judgment Sets Important Precedent for Digital ID Privacy Protections and Processes
The Justice Initiative welcomes a Kenyan High Court judgment declaring the data collection and roll-out of biometric Huduma cards for the country’s digital ID system, the National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS), unconstitutional.
Justice Initiative Joins Call for Biden Administration to Halt Citizenship Stripping
The Justice Initiative has joined a call on the incoming Biden administration to end the U.S. government’s use of denaturalizations, a draconian tool weaponized under the Trump administration.
Justice Initiative Welcomes First UN Human Rights Committee Ruling on the Right to Nationality for Children
The UN Human Rights Committee has found, in the case of Zhao v. Netherlands, that the Netherlands violated the rights of a child, Denny Zhao, by assigning him the status of “unknown” nationality when his birth in the country was registered.
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