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Manufacturing Statelessness - Neha Jain

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Virtual Event


Thu 20 January 2022

*** Please note that this event will now take place virtually ***


The Edinburgh Centre for International and Global Law presents

Manufacturing Statelessness

Professor Neha Jain, Professor of International Law, The European University Institute


About the seminar

Having recently emerged from its unenviable status as the “runt of international law”, the phenomenon of statelessness nonetheless eludes traditional international legal instruments and categories. Even as bodies such as the UNHCR focus on formal, legal efforts to reduce and eventually eliminate statelessness, states adopt increasingly creative measures to obscure and disguise the ways in which they actively produce statelessness or indefinitely postpone its de-termination. Confronted with questions of nationality that are considered to fall typically within the sovereign domain and the slipperiness of state conduct, international and re-gional human rights bodies have struggled to rein in covert statelessness and concentrated on the minutiae of state regulations manufacturing statelessness. They have thus missed an opportunity to identify patterns in state conduct and develop international law principles that prevent states measures that give rise to statelessness in the first place. The bulk of the scholarship on statelessness likewise focuses either on individual case studies of statelessness or doctrinal analysis of international and regional laws and decisions regulating statelessness. This Article theorizes the different ways in which states manipulate temporality, spatiality, and documentary practices to manufacture de facto statelessness, a nebulously opaque category in the law of statelessness. It argues that these insidious forms of statelessness are unlikely to be resolved and might even proliferate as a response to the formalistic framework adopted in the UNHCR’s campaign to end statelessness by 2024. The Article develops a vocabulary for international law to recognize and respond to the types of statelessness that fly under the radar. In doing so, it also addresses the potential and limits of international law’s ability to shape nationality and citizenship laws that go to the heart of the state’s authority to determine membership in its political community.


About the speaker

Neha Jain is Professor of Public International Law and Co-Director of the Academy of European Law at the European University Institute. She is on special leave from her position as Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota Law. Jain’s scholarship focuses on public international law, human rights law, criminal law, and comparative law. She is the author of Perpetrators and Accessories in International Criminal Law (Hart, 2014) and her work has appeared in numerous journals, including the American Journal of Comparative Law, American Journal of International Law, European Journal of International Law, and Harvard International Law Journal.

Jain has been a Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law and held fellowships at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre of Excellence for International Courts, and the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law. She has also served as a visiting professional in the Chambers Division of the International Criminal Court. Jain is a Board Member of the European Society of International Law and a member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law. She is Managing Editor of AJIL Unbound and serves on the editorial boards of the European Journal of International Law and the Criminal Law Forum.


Places are strictly limited and registration is required.



Image credit: Photo by Leonie Zettl on Unsplash

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