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Krytyka Prawa. Niezależne Studia nad Prawem

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Year 10/2021 
Volume 13 
Issue 3

On the Content of the Human Right to a Nationality

Magdalena Kolczyńska
University of Lodz

10/2021 13 (3) Krytyka Prawa. Niezależne Studia nad Prawem

DOI 10.7206/kp.2080-1084.479


: According to Article 15(1) of the UDHR, ‘everyone has the right to a nationality’. Although the quoted provision looks deceptively straightforward, the determination of its content is not an easy task. Past research has been mainly focused on the problem of statelessness which was the historical reason for the introduction of the right in question. In this paper, I argue that holding the status of a formal national is not enough to have the right to a nationality secured. To show this, first, I analyse the difference between the concepts of ‘nationality’ and ‘citizenship’ with special attention paid to the cultural component of national identity. Second, I investigate the understanding of a nationality as ‘the right to have rights’. On the basis of the research on the statelessness I ask what challenges are faced by people without the formal nationality of any state and I show that being a national of certain states is equivalent to being stateless with respect to certain fundamental rights of an individual. Thus, the right to a nationality is indeed ‘the right to have rights’, but only if it is a right to a right nationality. In consequence, I suggest that (1) any state which recognises the right guaranteed in Article 15 of the UDHR should embrace its full content by readiness to accept as nationals those whose original nationality does not guarantee the protection of their first-order rights or is based on values clearly contradictory to their own; (2) peoples from failed states should be able to acquire new citizenship in a country of maximal cultural affinity, with regard to the economic effectiveness of the latter; (3) the obtaining of new citizenship may legitimately be conditioned by demand on compliance with the system of values of the nationality granted.


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APA style

Kolczyńska, Magdalena (2021). On the Content of the Human Right to a Nationality. (2021). On the Content of the Human Right to a Nationality. Krytyka Prawa. Niezależne Studia Nad Prawem, 13(3), 176–194. https://doi.org/10.7206/kp.2080-1084.479 (Original work published 10/2021AD)

MLA style

Kolczyńska, Magdalena. “On The Content Of The Human Right To A Nationality”. 10/2021AD. Krytyka Prawa. Niezależne Studia Nad Prawem, vol. 13, no. 3, 2021, pp. 176–194.

Chicago style

Kolczyńska, Magdalena. “On The Content Of The Human Right To A Nationality”. Krytyka Prawa. Niezależne Studia Nad Prawem, Krytyka Prawa. Niezależne Studia nad Prawem, 13, no. 3 (2021): 176–194. doi:10.7206/kp.2080-1084.479.