In Brazil, as stated in Law 13.445/17 and Decree No. 9.199/17, a stateless person is “a person who is not considered as a national by any State, according to its legislation, under the Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons, of 1954, promulgated by Decree No. 4.246, dated May 22, 2002, or as recognized by the Brazilian State.” Statelessness occurs for a number of reasons, such as discrimination against minorities in national legislation, failure to recognize all residents of the country as citizens when this country becomes independent (secession of states) and conflicts of laws between countries.

Statelessness is sometimes considered an invisible problem because stateless people often remain invisible and unknown. They may not have access to schooling, consult a doctor, get a job, open a bank account, buy a home or even get married.

The Interministerial Ordinance No. 5 was published on February 28, 2018. The document regulates the procedure for recognizing the condition of statelessness and facilitated naturalization. To access the whole document, click here.

On October 4, 2018, the Ministry of Justice granted Brazilian nationality to the sisters Maha and Souad Mamo, the first stateless persons recognized by Brazil. And the granting of nationality was considered a historical moment by the Brazilian authorities. “By granting Brazilian sisters the Maha and Souad Maho sisters, Brazil reaffirms its tradition of welcoming the vulnerable and the uncared for, and sets an example to the world that it has been, and always will be, a country committed to the eradication of statelessness,” said the former Minister of Justice, Torquato Jardim.