The right to citizenship is the human right that makes all others possible “the right to have rights,” as some have called it. Unfortunately, many governments – driven by racism, bigotry, and xenophobia – attempt to strip various groups of their nationality, even groups that have lived in a country for generations.

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights works to protect the right to citizenship of several vulnerable populations. In the Bahamas, Haitian immigrants and citizens of Haitian descent have been the target of a vague immigration policy that rendered their legal status uncertain. In the Dominican Republic, the government passed a law that retroactively stripped citizens of Haitian descent of their nationality, a gross violation of the government’s responsibilities under international law. Our lawyers have argued both cases before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

We also work with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award laureate Aminatou Haidar, who advocates for the rights of the Sahrawi people of the Western Sahara region. Since 1975, Morocco has occupied Western Sahara, denying the Sahrawi their right to self-determination and flouting international law.

Regions Where We Address Statelessness

  • Americas

    From continuing Robert Kennedy's efforts with American farmworkers to working to end violence against women in Latin America, our programs in the Americas seek to protect the vulnerable, end corruption, and ensure respect for the dignity of each person throughout the region.

  • Africa

    Our work in Africa is as diverse as the continent itself. We fight for LGBT rights in Uganda, advocate for civil society in Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and The Gambia, and help bring lifesaving technology to Kenya.

  • Europe

    Headquartered in a prison that has been transformed into a beacon of freedom, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Europe works with experts, advocates, and teachers to promote freedom and justice across the continent and beyond.

Our Programs Addressing Statelessness

  • Partners for Human Rights

    Our lawyers and experts join with our partners in the field to create real change, fulfilling Robert Kennedy’s pledge that those with the courage to enter moral conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the globe.

  • Speak Truth to Power

    A human rights education program that strives to create a global citizenry dedicated to the highest standards of justice and equality.

  • Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute

    Welcoming human rights defenders, government employees, NGOs, and members of civil society from all over the world to learn new skills, strengthen their capacities, and share their knowledge.