A family of three applicants, who came to Latvia under the former Soviet Union, were denied permanent resident status following its independence and offered short term residence status and registration on the domestic register of residents. The second and third applicants have Russian nationality, while the first applicant has no nationality. Following complaints of their Article 8 and Article 34 rights being violated, it was held that Article 8 cannot guarantee the right to a particular type of residence permit.
Eight applicants some of whom were stateless and others were nationals of former-Yugoslavian failed to request or were refused Slovenian citizenship, following its independence.Their names were “erased” from the Register of Permanent Residents, resulting in them becoming aliens without residence permits. The Court held that the domestic legal system had failed to clearly regulate the consequences of the “erasure”, resulting in a violation of Article 8(2), 14, and 13.
The judgment relies on earlier Constitutional Court judgments that have established that stateless persons who lost their nationality involuntarily and demonstrated that they do not have the right to permanent legal residence elsewhere should get residence rights in Belgium on an equal footing with refugees, and that the necessary national legislation is lacking to give effect to such rights. The applicant has a criminal record and was denied residence rights on that basis, but the Court ruled that criminal convictions are irrelevant for his residence rights, and ordered authorities to regularise his residence until new legislation comes to force that regulates the stateless persons' right to residence.
The applicant was born in China and is of Tibetan origin. He fled China to Nepal, and then made his way to Belgium through India on a fake passport. His asylum applications failed, he has been detained with a view to deportation to China, but had been released due to the Chinese authorities not issuing the necessary documents. The applicant also unsuccessfully attempted to organise voluntary return through IOM, contacting authorities of China, India, and Nepal. These facts convinced the Court to recognise the applicant as stateless.
Applicant was born on the territory of what is now Kosovo, and is of Roma origin. He was unable to access Kosovar nationality due to discrimination against Roma, and he was not accepted by the Kosovar authorities when France attempted to expel him. His application for stateless status was rejected by OFPRA, as he did not demonstrate having made sufficient efforts to obtain Kosovar or Serbian nationality, and this decision was upheld by the Court.
The refusal to grant family allowance to a recognised stateless person because of the lack of a residence permit amounts to discrimination between stateless persons and refugees. Such difference of treatment arises from a legislative gap that had been identified in an earlier judgement and not filled yet by the legislator.
The absence of any legislative provision granting persons recognised as stateless in Belgium a residence right, comparable to that enjoyed by recognised refugees, is discriminatory.