Conference on Status of Stateless Persons Opens at U.N.

A conference attended by diplomatic representatives from 26 countries, including Israel, opened here today for the purpose of preparing an international instrument granting certain basic rights–economic, social and legal–to persons who are stateless.

The conference, formally called the UN Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Status of Stateless Persons, was opened by Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold. Its immediate task is to draft a protocol relating to the status of stateless persons to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

In welcoming the delegates, Mr. Hammarskjold declared that in adopting such a protocol and opening it for signature “this conference will have completed a chapter, begun several years ago, of United Nations efforts to protect refugees and stateless persons.” He recalled that the Commission on Human Rights, the Economic and Social Council and the International Law Commission had long been concerned with the fate of persons who have no nationality.

The present conference, said the Secretary General, should decide to what extent the rights set forth in the 1951 refugee convention could and should be applied to stateless persons, regardless of whether the latter were refugees or not.

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