Three years ago Steven walked into a police station in the British city of Cardiff and asked to be arrested even though he hadn’t committed any crime. When the police refused, he asked if it would help if he insulted an officer. They refused again.

Steven had hit rock bottom after a series of events had left him destitute, and he believed a police cell would be preferable to another night sleeping rough.

His predicament boils down to one fact: No country recognises him as a citizen.

“Being stateless is like being an alien. Anywhere you place me on the planet, everyone will still say, ‘You are not from here’,” he says. “Just talking about it makes me feel anxious.”

With no nationality, he has no rights to the basics most people take for granted such as healthcare, education and employment. He cannot travel, open a bank account, get a driving licence or even get married.

Steven, now 32, believes he was born in Zimbabwe, or possibly Mozambique. His mother vanished when he was 18, and he never knew his dad.