The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, in partnership with the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States (Social Affairs Sector, Department of Women, Family and Childhood) and the Tunisian Government, is holding the Ministerial Conference under the patronage of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Tunisia, Mr. Beji Caid Essebsi, on “Belonging and Identity”, to take place Wednesday, February 28th, 2018, in the Tunisian Republic.
This conference is convened in implementation of the “Sharjah Declaration on Basic Principles for the Protection of Refugee Children”, which was adopted by the Arab Ministers of Social Affairs Council, as a general framework and a guide for the protection of refugee children. It is also convened in implementation of the recommendations of the Arab Declaration on “Belonging and Legal Identity” during the Regional Expert Meeting entitled “Our Children…Our Future”, which was held on 17-18 October 2016, as well as the recommendations of the Final Declaration of the First Arab Conference on Good Practices & Regional Opportunities to Strengthen Women’s Nationality Rights, that took place 1-2 October 2017. This conference also comes within the framework of UNHCR Global Campaign #I belong, that aims at preventing and reducing Statelessness around the world.
In this regard, and in order to overcome the challenges posed by new conflicts and instability, UNHCR launched the “I belong” campaign in November 2014 to help ensure all persons enjoy their rights to legal identity, which includes the right to a name, to be registered at birth, and to be cared for by their parents and to acquire a nationality.
The Ministerial Conference aims to highlight reforms, innovations and identify best practices to protect every person from statelessness, while safeguarding their rights to legal identity and family reunification, the promotion of women’s rights and equal access to citizenship and belonging. By hosting this event – the first of its kind in the region – UNHCR and League of Arab States aim to promote and strengthen protection measures and develop concrete solutions. At the closing of this Ministerial Conference, Member States are expected to adopt the Arab Declaration on “Belonging and Identity” outlining their shared commitment to enhancing the protection of women, children and families in the region by strengthening civil registration systems and access to nationality, with particular attention to individuals at risk.
The conference will be held under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Tunisia, HE Mr. Beji Caid Essebsi, which will be attended by the Ministers of Interior, Justice and Women from around the region, whose portfolios all touch in some way or another the issue of statelessness. High Level Representatives from UNHCR will also be present, in addition to high level representatives from the regional organizations such as the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the African Union. Civil society organizations, national human rights institutions and United Nations agencies and international experts from academia and diplomatic representatives from across the region are also invited.
For more information about the ministerial conference and about “belonging and identity”, see: