Melissa Schnyder
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Civil society advocacy
Using norms to promote progress on the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness
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This chapter explores how civil society organisations (CSOs) working to end statelessness use norm-based advocacy strategies to effect political and social change. In particular, it examines how they do this in relation to the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness (Action Plan). The CSOs of focus include local-level community groups, national and regional non-governmental organisations, and regional networks of individual experts. Highlighting specific examples from a content analysis of CSO documents, public statements, and discourse, the chapter analyses how CSOs attempt to ‘foreground’ and dismantle problematic social norms that relate to causes of statelessness. It observes that CSOs use two strategies – ‘normative reframing’ and ‘normative innovation’ – to advance alternative norms in their place. First, CSOs have used normative reframing to build momentum for change. That is, they have adopted a human rights framing for the discussion of Action 2 of the Action Plan (to ensure that no child is born stateless). This has taken a regional focus on Europe. Second, CSOs are currently using normative innovation. This is in order to advance a normative framework based on a combination of equality, inclusion, and anti-discrimination norms. The intention of this is to generate more progress on Action 3 (remove gender discrimination from nationality laws), an area that has seen less success than other areas. Although statelessness is the focus here, the conclusions of this research potentially hold relevance to civil society advocacy in other issue areas.

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