Nationality and Defining “The Right to Have Rights”

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Since the late 1990s, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and scholars have suggested that legal nationality, as is relevant to the right to a nationality, comprises not only traditional rights regarding movement and access to diplomatic protection but also civil and political rights. They have equated nationality with enfranchised citizenship, identifying certain groups of non-citizen nationals as stateless. This Note reviews the history of nationality in international law and concludes that nationality and citizenship were and continue to be separate concepts.