At least 4.4 million people in 95 countries are stateless or of undetermined nationality. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in its annual report marking the 9th anniversary of its #IBelong campaign said, the actual figure globally is believed to be significantly higher, given the relative invisibility of stateless people in national statistical exercises.

UNHCR noted that, stateless people, often belonging to minority groups, are often deprived of human rights and access to basic services. It said, this leaves them politically and economically marginalized and vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation and abuse.

In total, 97 countries are now party to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and 79 are party to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness

UNHCR however commended some achievements reported in the past year, which included several countries introducing safeguards in their laws to prevent statelessness, or setting up procedures to protect stateless people.