It was with enormous pleasure that I accepted the invitation of my dear friend and colleague Erika Feller to send a message to the inauguration of the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness.
Erika was the engine who drove UNHCR and others in the international community to focus on this challenge with greater determination.
For years, statelessness had been a forgotten human rights issue. Erika’s work has brought it the attention it needs and deserves.
Indeed, belonging nowhere is a disaster that should befall no-one.
Stateless individuals are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, including trafficking.
They may miss out on education, healthcare, jobs and justice.
Everyone has a right to a nationality.
Yet, some 10 million people are without.
The United Nations aims to end statelessness by 2024.
I commend the creation of this Centre at Melbourne University.
I trust it will become an important partner.
Thank you for your support.