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A stateless nation is an ethnic group, religious group, linguistic group or other cohesive group which is not the majority population in any nation state. The term implies that the group "should have" such a state, and thus expresses irredentism. This is orthogonal to statelessness in the sense of an individual's complete lack of a legal nationality: members of stateless ethnic groups may be citizens/nationals of the country in which they live, or they may be denied citizenship by that country.
Stateless nations either are dispersed across a number of states (for example, the Kurdish people are found in Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Armenia and Syria) or form the native population of a province within a larger state (such as the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region within the People's Republic of China). Some stateless nations historically had a state, which was absorbed by another; for example, Tibet's declaration of independence in 1913 was not recognized, and it was invaded in 1951 by the People's Republic of China which claims that Tibet is an integral part of China, while the Tibetan government-in-exile maintains that Tibet is an independent state under unlawful occupation. Especially Ethnic groups in Asia, Africa, Australia and America lost their self-determination by a result of colonialism and suffer since then. The colonial powers imposed a unified state structure irrespective of the ethnic differences and released their colony later as a multinational state. Many ethnic groups have become a minority who have to live in a state that is mostly dominated by a majority. Because of ethnic differences came in some countries later to discrimination, ethnic conflict, separatism and partition.
The Romani people may be a special case, being distributed among numerous countries with no clear homeland; as a traditionally "nomadic" people, the Romani/Roma are a classical "stateless nation" without aspiration to sovereign territory.
As not all states are nation states, there are a number of ethnic groups who live in a multinational state without being considered "stateless nations". As there are several thousand individual languages and fewer than 200 independent states, it follows that the vast majority of ethnic groups is "stateless" in the sense that they do not have their own nation state.
Claims of stateless nations
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This is a List of the largest groups without a nation of their own for which an autonomist and secessionist movements is known to exist. Groups claiming to be representatives of these stateless nations are fighting for their rights to self-determination with peaceful and violent movements, but their sovereignty and legitimacy is not recognized by the world community.
- Ethnic nationalism
- European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
- Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
- List of active autonomist and secessionist movements
- List of federally recognized tribes
- List of First Nations peoples
- List of unrecognized tribes in the United States
- Multinational state
- Non-FIFA international football
- Stateless person
- Stateless society
- Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
- Clark, Gregory, In fear of China, 1969, saying: "Tibet, although enjoying independence at certain periods of its history, had never been recognised by any single foreign power as an independent state. The closest it has ever come to such recognition was the British formula of 1943: suzerainty, combined with autonomy and the right to enter into diplomatic relations."
- "The Legal Status of Tibet". Cultural Survival.
- Donald L. Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict
- Keating, Michael (2001), Nations Against the State: The New Politics of Nationalism in Quebec, Catalonia and Scotland (Second ed.), Palgrave
- Levinson, David, ed. (1998), Ethnic Groups Worldwide: A Ready Reference Handbook, Phoenix, AZ: The Oryx Press, ISBN 1-57356-019-7
- Minahan, James, ed. (2002), Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: Ethnic and National Groups Around the World, Westport: Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-313-31617-1
- Bodlore-Penlaez, Mikael, ed. (2011), Atlas of Stateless Nations in Europe, minority peoples in search of recognition, Ceredigion: Y Lolfa, ISBN 978-1-84771-379-7
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