Court name: Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber)
Date of decision:

The case concerns a Belarusian individual who had entered the UK in 1998, whose asylum applications were refused and who spent the subsequent eighteen years in immigration bail as his identity could not be confirmed and he could not be deported to Belarus. As he had left Belarus in 1991, he had effectively lost his Belarusian nationality and had become stateless. He complained that the state of “limbo” in which he was as a result of his immigration bail constituted an infringement of his right to private life. The court refused his application.

Court name: Irish High Court
State: Ireland
Date of decision:

This matter concerns the hearing of an application for judicial review of the decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal (RAT) on 20 May 2006. The purpose of this application was to affirm an earlier recommendation of the Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) that the applicant should not be granted a declaration of refugee status. The leave to apply for judicial review was granted on four grounds. Firstly, there was a failure to consider the submissions of the applicant to the effect that the refusal of the Libyan State to admit her constituted a form of persecution. It was found that the respondent failed to consider the significance of such a refusal. Secondly, there was a failure to consider vital evidence submitted on the applicant's behalf. Thirdly, there was a failure to consider the applicant’s account of the extent to which she lived her life in fear and how general daily activities involved avoiding attached and finally, there was a failure to have regard to the applicant’s fear of persecution. The court rejected the application as it was satisfied that the RAT had considered the applicant's evidence and found that she did not have a well-founded fear of persecution. The court also relied on English case law to confirm that statelessness per se does not confer refugee status.

Court name: Court of Giurgiu (in Romania Judecatoria Giurgiu - first instance)
State: Romania
Date of decision:

The applicant, a stateless person from Kuwait, filled an application to be granted refugee status in Romania, and, alternatively, any form of protection. The competent authority, the General Inspectorate for Immigration, Asylum and Immigration Department, rejected the request. The applicant challenged this decision in court, but the court confirmed the rejection of his application, considering that the applicant did not meet the criteria provided by Romanian law in order to be granted with refugee status or any other form of subsidiary protection in Romania. 

Court name: Court of Justice of the European Union
Date of decision:

This case concerns a mother and child, NB and AB, stateless Palestinians formerly residing in Lebanon who are registered with UNRWA. AB is severely disabled and has complex medical issues and other needs. They sought asylum in the United Kingdom on the basis of Article 1D of the Refugee Convention. The Court considered whether they qualify to be granted ipso facto refugee status under Article 1D of the Refugee Convention. The Court found that the burden of proof lies with the applicants to prove that they have actually had recourse to UNRWA’s protection or assistance and that that protection or assistance has ceased, but, once that is established, if the authority considers that the applicant could now return to UNRWA’s area of operation, it is for that authority to demonstrate that the circumstances have changed in the area of operations concerned and that the applicant can access adequate protection or assistance from UNRWA. It also held that the applicant does not need to prove that there was any intentional infliction of harm or failure; it is sufficient to establish that UNRWA’s assistance or protection has in fact ceased for any reason (beyond the applicant’s control). The Court held, inter alia, that if UNRWA cooperates with a civil society or host government agency or actor to fulfil its mission, the services by those organisations are relevant to considerations of whether UNWRA can provide adequate assistance or protection only if there is a stable and formal relationship between UNRWA and the relevant organisations, and the applicant has a durable right to such services.

Court name: Cour administrative d’appel de Paris
State: France
Date of decision:

A Palestinian refugee was living in Lebanon and benefited from the protection of UNRWA before leaving for France and applying for statelessness status in France. After the Conseil d’État quashed a decision granting the applicant statelessness status and referred the case back to the Administrative Court of Appeal, the Court found that the applicant still benefitted from effective protection from UNRWA, as she did not fall under any of the conditions identified by the Conseil d’État in which a Palestinian refugee who is outside UNRWA’s area of operation must be considered as no longer effectively benefiting from UNRWA’s protection.

Court name: Migration Court of Appeal
State: Sweden
Date of decision:

The case concerns the application of Article 12 of the Qualification Directive (recast Directive 2011/95) on the possibility for those whose support from United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has ceased to obtain international protection. The main issue was the determination of which country had been the applicant’s habitual place of residence to examine the reasons for protection. In the applicant’s case, while he had lived in Syria for a significant length of time, his ties to Algeria were strong enough to permit the Court to find the latter to be his habitual place of residence and consequently the applicant’s appeal was dismissed as Algeria was found to be safe.

Court name: Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo)
State: Spain
Date of decision:

The applicant, who described himself as being Saharawi, claimed that he should not be granted statelessness status because he was entitled to Spanish nationality. Alternatively, he argued that he should be recognised as being stateless. The Supreme Court found that his entitlement to Spanish nationality could not be considered, given that it has never been requested before by the applicant. However, the court found that given that he could not be considered as Moroccan or Algerian under the law of these two countries, nor as covered by the exception foreseen in Article 1(2)(i) of the 1954 Convention, his statelessness status should be recognised.

Court name: Austrian Constitutional Court (Verfassungsgerichtshof, VfGH)
State: Austria
Date of decision:

The case concerned the rejection of the asylum applications submitted by a single mother and her five minor children, who are stateless Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and were registered with UNRWA. The Constitutional Court found a violation of equal treatment among foreigners and held that the Federal Administrative Court had failed to recognise the applicants’ right to ipso facto protection as refugees, disregarded UNHRC’s assessment criteria for the Gaza Strip, and did not give sufficient consideration of the vulnerability of a mother mother and her five minor children.

Court name: Court of Justice of the European Union
State:
Date of decision:

The case concerned the interpretation of Article 19 of the Directive (2011/95/EU, Qualification Directive). Specifically, the applicant had been granted subsidiary protection by the Austrian authorities on the mistaken basis that he was an Algerian national. The applicant was not responsible for the mistake, having rather declared throughout the proceedings that he was stateless. The CJEU held that under the Qualification Directive a State is under the obligation to revoke subsidiary protection if information emerges to prove that an individual never satisfied the requirements under the Directive.

Court name: Court of Justice of the European Union
State: Hungary
Date of decision:

The case concerns a stateless person of Palestinian origin who was refused asylum in Hungary. The question before the CJEU concerned the circumstances in which a person is considered to be receiving "protection or assistance from organs or agencies of the United Nations other than [UNHCR]" within the meaning of Article 12(1)(a) of the 2004 Qualification Directive (equivalent to Article 1D of the Refugee Convention), and may therefore be entitled to refugee status when that protection or assistance ceases. The CJEU held that the words “at present” mean the present day, and that a person receives protection or assistance from UNRWA when that person has actually availed themselves of that protection or assistance, and not if they are entitled to but have not done so. It also noted that persons who have not actually availed themselves of protection or assistance from UNRWA, prior to their application for refugee status, may, in any event, have that application examined pursuant to Article 2(c) of the Directive.

Court name: UK Court of Session (Inner House, Extra Division)
State:
Date of decision:

The case concerned the removal of the applicant, a stateless Palestinian individual who had been habitually resident in Syria and present in the United Kingdom since 2007, to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). It was held by the – that the PNA could be considered as a safe third country despite it not being formally recognised as a state. It was also held that the  Directive 2011/95/EU on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection (the Qualification Directive), and for the content of the protection granted could not be interpreted as guaranteeing a resident permit to all those in receipt of subsidiary protection.

Court name: Spanish Supreme Court
State: Spain
Date of decision:

The Supreme Court held that the initiation of the administrative procedure to recognise statelessness does not require the applicant to be in Spain. It is sufficient that he/she is at the border post. 

Court name: Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
Date of decision:

The communication concerned M.K.A.H., a stateless child, and whether Switzerland violated his rights under Articles 2 (2), 6, 7, 16, 22, 24, 27, 28, 29, 37 and 39 UNCRC when it decided to return him and his mother to Bulgaria, pursuant to the agreement between Switzerland and Bulgaria relating to the readmission of migrants in irregular situations, where they had previously obtained subsidiary protection.

Some of the findings of the Committee were that (i) Switzerland had not respected the best interests of the child nor heard him at the time of hearing the asylum request; (ii) the child ran a real risk of being subject to inhuman and degrading treatment in case of a return to Bulgaria; (iii) Switzerland had not sought to take the necessary measures to verify whether the child would be able to acquire a nationality in Bulgaria. The Committee also found that Article 7 UNCRC implicates that States must take the necessary positive actions to implement the right to acquire a nationality.

Court name: Conseil d'Etat
State: France
Date of decision:

A Palestinian refugee was living in Lebanon and benefited from the protection of UNRWA, before moving to and applying for statelessness status in France. The Conseil d’Etat quashed a decision to grant the applicant statelessness status because it did not mention whether the applicant no longer continued to benefit from UNRWA's effective protection. The Conseil d'Etat ruled on the conditions of eligibility of Palestinian refugees for statelessness status and identified three hypothesis in which a Palestinian refugee who is outside UNRWA's area of activity must be considered as no longer effectively benefiting from the protection or assistance of this agency.

Court name: Federal Administrative Court of Switzerland
Date of decision:

The complainant, a Syrian Kurd with provisional refugee status in Switzerland, applied for recognition as stateless. Her application was rejected on the grounds that a) she was entitled to Syrian nationality and b) she was already protected by the Refugee Convention. On appeal, the court held that the complainant was entitled to apply for recognition as stateless notwithstanding her status as a refugee and that, since the complainant would have to travel to Syria to claim nationality there, she had adequate reasons for not claiming the nationality to which she had an entitlement and could be recognised as stateless. 

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
State: Cyprus
Date of decision:

Fourteen Syrian nationals of Kurdish origin and two stateless Kurds had their asylum applications rejected in Cyprus, on grounds of the accounts being either unsubstantiated, lacking credibility or, on the respective facts, being insufficient to establish a real risk of persecution. The applicants were arrested, detained, deported, and subjected to imprisonment for protesting the Government’s restrictive asylum policies. The grounds for deportation related to illegal entry and illegal stay. The applicants claimed that they had not received these orders but were informed orally of their deportation.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
Date of decision:

The applicants, a stateless Palestinian from Syria and two Syrian nationals, entered Russia in 2013 and were kept in a detention centre before their expulsion to Syria. The Court held that the Government’s actions breached the applicant’s rights provided under Articles 2 and 3. The Court also stated that Articles 5(4) and 5(1)(f) had been violated with regards to their detention. The Court also held that the restricted contact with their respective representatives had breached Article 34 of the Convention. 

Court name: High Court
State: Ireland
Date of decision:

The applicant, a citizen of Bhutan of Nepali ethnicity was refused asylum in Ireland as the tribunal held that the applicant was stateless and that his claim for refugee status was to be determined by reference to Nepal. The applicant sought for this decision to be quashed in that the Tribunal failed to consider the applicant’s risk of persecution in Bhutan. The Court dismissed the application holding that that the discriminatory and persecutory nature of a law depriving persons of nationality is not relevant to the determination of citizenship for the purposes of refugee status or statelessness.

Court name: High Court
State: Ireland
Date of decision:

The applicant is a child who was born in Ireland to a Cameroonian mother and a Ghanaian father, it was asserted that the child was stateless. The Refugee Appeal Tribunal denied the child applicant refugee status and the applicant requested a judicial review of the tribunal’s decision. The application centred around the tribunals alleged wrongful reliance on the applicant’s right to acquire citizenship in Ghana and Cameroon. The application for judicial review was ultimately unsuccessful.

Court name: Court of Appeal
State: Ireland
Date of decision:

This case concerned an appeal as to whether an applicant for subsidiary protection may be considered both as a national of a third country and a stateless person simultaneously under the European Communities (Eligibility for Protection) Regulations 2006 and the Qualification Directive. The Court held that a person who is a national of a state is not a stateless person and that such state or country is his country of origin in relation to which his application must be primarily decided.

Court name: Municipal Court Prague
Date of decision:

The court stated that “not admitting applicants for statelessness status to an asylum seekers' accommodation centre is an unlawful action” and the applicants should be admitted to an accommodation centre until a decision is made on their applications for recognition as a stateless person. The case was argued based on an analogy with the asylum procedure, as the reference to stateless persons is currently in the Czech Asylum Act. 

Court name: Administrative Court of Luxembourg
State: Luxembourg
Date of decision:

The applicant made several unsuccessful applications for asylum and other protection statuses in Luxembourg, before applying for a statelessness status. The latter was refused, as the Algerian consular authorities' statement concerning the applicant was interpreted as lack of confirmation of the applicant's identity, not a denial of Algerian nationality to him. 

Court name: Administrative Court of Luxembourg
State: Luxembourg
Date of decision:

The applicant is a stateless Palestinian from Lebanon, who was denied statelessness status recognition as he was found to fall under the exclusion grounds of the 1954 Convention, even after leaving the territory under UNRWA mandate. 

Court name: Administrative Court of Luxembourg
State: Luxembourg
Date of decision:

The applicant appplicant was born in Russia and renounced his Russian nationality in 2000. He applied for a statelessness status in Luxembourg in 2008, but it was discovered that he had applied for asylum status in the Netherlands in 2006, which was rejected, so Luxembourg transferred the applicant to the Netherlands under the Dublin regulation. The applicant returned several times to Luxembourg and was sent back to the Netherlands. He made a repeated application for statelessness status in 2014, where the courts accepted his argument that statelessness status determination doesn't fall within the scope of the Dublin regulations, and the court also accepted that his voluntary renunciation of Russian nationality does not exclude him from protection under the 1954 Convention. 

Court name: Administrative Court of Luxembourg
State: Luxembourg
Date of decision:

The applicant is a Palestinian from Syria, who holds a refugee status in Hungary. He also applied for a recognition as a stateless person in Luxembourg. The Court found that the 1954 Statelessness Convention was conceived as complementary to the Refugee Convention. Since the applicant as a refugee in Hungary received at least as good a protection as a Palestinian in an UNRWA protected territory, the latter category being explicitly excluded from the protection scope of the 1954 Convention, the applicant did not qualify for the recognition of a statelessness status in Luxembourg.