12 million people still stateless

Fifty years after the adoption of the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, 12 million people remain without citizenship, most living in Asia, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

Children's rights organization, Plan International, estimates 30 million unregistered babies are born in Asia each year, potentially entering a life without school, healthcare, property or formal work. "Millions of babies are born in... geographically isolated areas who are simply never registered," Ming Viado, Plan Asia's coordinator for universal birth registration, told IRIN from Manila. "These children do not exist according to the national census, and without registration they also become stateless."

An estimated 20 percent of the world's stateless live in Thailand - 2.5 million, down from 3.5 million since 2010, according to the government. To date, only 38 of the 193 UN member states have ratified the convention.

While commending the Thai government for recent efforts, Veerawit Tianchainan, executive director of the Thai Committee for Refugees, said endorsing the international standard was the next step.