The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) is calling on countries to help more than 12 million stateless people in the world who are not recognized as nationals of any country.
Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said on August 25 that stateless people are caught in what he described as a "limbo", as they are typically barred from education, healthcare, housing and formal employment.
Statelessness occurs due to a number of reasons -- from the denial of citizenship as in the case of Kurds living in Saddam Hussein's Iraq to the consequences of state breakups like the former Yugoslavia.
The UN says the problem is particularly acute in Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
So far, only 38 countries have signed the international Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness which marks its 50th anniversary on August 30.
compiled from agency reports