Court name: Court of Appeals of Gipuzkoa
State: Spain
Date of decision:

A 7-year-old child arrived in Spain irregularly by boat in April 2018. She was born in Morocco to a Cameroonian mother while they were on a journey to Europe, and due to the circumstances the child’s birth was not registered. Her mother contacted the Cameroonian and Moroccan embassies in Spain, but she never succeeded in registering her birth nor recognising her Cameroonian nor Moroccan nationality. The child was thus stateless, as declared in the first instance judgment and confirmed on appeal. The Provincial Court of Guipúzcoa held that the mother had made a genuine effort to remove all bureaucratic obstacles to have the child’s Cameroonian nationality recognised. The Court held that the safeguard established in the Spanish Civil Code to prevent statelessness of children born in Spain should be applied broadly and by analogy, as this is the only interpretation in compliance with international treaties to which Spain is a party and with the principle of the best interests of the child. Therefore it found that there was a violation of the child's fundamental rights and declared that the child held Spanish nationality and agreed to order the Central Civil Registry to register the birth of the child. 

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

A person born in Tajikistan applied for statelessness status. The applicant argued that he could not ask for nationality from Tajikistan because that country would force him to convert to Islam. The Spanish authorities dismissed the application because, under their understating of Tajikistan law, nationality from that country is granted on a jus sanguinis basis regardless of the religion or ethnicity of the applicant. The court confirmed the decision of the Spanish authorities to deny the statelessness status on the grounds that: (i) given the alleged nationality of his parents it was reasonable to assume that the applicant could have the right to nationality of Tajikistan; (ii) it was not proven that the authorities from Tajikistan actually denied nationality to the applicant, that his parents were not from Tajikistan nor that it was required to convert to Islam to obtain the nationality; and (iii) the applicant filed its application in 2012 despite having arrived in Spain in 2003 (this delay goes against the credibility of the application).

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

The appellant’s nationality, or lack thereof, was the central issue of the remaking decision of this appeal. The appellant alleged that he was stateless and that this constituted “very compelling circumstances” outweighing the public interest requiring his deportation; he could not therefore be deported from the UK. The respondent alleged that the appellant was a de jure Guinean national and that the barriers to removal in his case were purely administrative in nature and did not therefore permit the appellant to succeed in his appeal. The Court found that the appellant failed to show, on the balance of probabilities, that he was stateless within the meaning of the 1954 Convention; rather, the appellant was found to be in “actual limbo”. The Court also held that it could not be said that the very strong public interest was outweighed by any factors supporting the appellant’s position, whether viewed in isolation or cumulatively. The Court further found that there may come a stage when all possible avenues to establish the appellant’s Guinean nationality and/or other means of facilitating a removal have been exhausted and that the prospect of deporting him from the UK could be considered so remote that Article 8 ECHR might provide a route for success; but, in the Court's judgment, that stage had not been reached by some distance.

 

Court name: Administrative Court of Appeal of Bordeaux
State: France
Date of decision:

The applicant asked to be granted the status as a stateless person in France, however both the OFPRA (French bureau for the protection of refugees and stateless persons) and the Courts denied him this status on the grounds that he did not take sufficient steps to request nationality from the Armenian authorities. He also argued that people from Azerbaijan face discrimination and are often refused Russian nationality, even when they may be able to benefit from it. The Court concluded that no discrimination exists and the applicant failed to take steps to obtain Russian nationality.  

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: Human Rights Committee
Date of decision:

A child was born in the Netherlands was registered as having 'unknown' nationality and the authorities refused changing it to 'stateless' on the ground that the child had not proved that he had no nationality, as the burden of proof was on the child and not on the authorities. Without being recognised as stateless, the author could not acquire Dutch nationality. The Committee adopted the view that this requirement rendered the author of the complaint unable to effectively enjoy his right as a minor to acquire a nationality, in violation of the rights guaranteed under Article 24(3) in conjunction with Article 2(3) ICCPR.

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

An Austrian national by birth transferred his residence to Germany and naturalised as a German national. The naturalisation in Germany had the effect, in accordance with Austrian law, of causing him to lose his Austrian nationality. The German authorities later withdrew the naturalisation with retroactive effect, on the grounds that the applicant had not disclosed that he was the subject of a criminal investigation in Austria on account of suspected serious fraud, and that he had thus obtained German nationality by deception. The Court held that it is not contrary to EU law for a Member State to withdraw nationality obtained by deception, even if it results in losing EU citizenship, so long as the decision observes the principle of proportionality. Observance of the principle of proportionality requires the person concerned to be afforded a reasonable period of time in order to try to recover the nationality of their Member State of origin.

Court name: Turin Court of First Instance (Tribunale Ordinario di Torino)
State: Italy
Date of decision:

The applicant was a former asylum seeker, who in 2016 was awarded humanitarian protection by the Territorial Commission of Turing, in recognition to the risk of becoming stateless. The applicant could not obtain citizenship under neither the Ivorian nor the Malian law. For this reason, the Turin Court of First Instance recognised the stateless status of the applicant, under Art.1 of the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (1954 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: Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo)
State: Spain
Date of decision:

Saharawi refugees living in its camps have not explicitly or implicitly been recognised as Algerian nationals, by the Algerian Government. The applicant’s passport issued by the Algerian Government grants the status of a travel document. Specifically, it was granted to allow the applicant to travel for medical reasons. The applicant’s stateless status must be recognised.

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 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. 

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

The applicant originates from former Soviet Union, and has lived in Luxembourg since 2004, unsuccessfully applying for the recognition of a statelessness status on numerous occasions. His identity has never been confirmed, and there were doubts as to the credibility of his testimony stemming from his asylum procedures. The applicant claimed that after 15 years of inability to determine the country of destination for his removal the attempts at deportation should be terminated, and his statelessness recognised, especially considering his poor health condition. 

Court name: High Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia
State: Croatia
Date of decision:

The applicant was born in Croatia in 1998 and has lived there ever since. His parents are citizens of Serbia, but the applicant's citizenship status remained unclear. His request for a permanent residence permit in Croatia was rejected, among others due to lack of a valid travel document, lack of means of subsistence, and lack of health insurance. The Court ordered the authorities to issue a new decision, taking into account the ECHR judgment in Hoti v. Croatia, and the applicant's potential statelessness which is related to widespread difficulties in confirming Serbian citizenship of individuals in a similar situation to the applicant. The applicant initiated a new administrative dispute and the Administrative Court in Rijeka ruled in his favour, however, on appeal, the High Administrative Court rejected the applicant’s request.

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

The applicant is a Syrian Kurd, who fled to Austria in 2011. Just after he left, Syria passed a Decree that would have allowed the applicant to acquire Syrian nationality. The applicant was thus deemed to have been able to acquire Syrian nationality, even if he hasn’t done that, and therefore was not entitled to a stateless status.  

Court name: Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht)
Date of decision:

Applicants requested to be recognised as stateless in addition to having already been recognised as refugees. The judgments deals with the question of whether refugee status is comparable in rights to the status of nationals within the meaning of the exclusion clause in Article 1(2) of the 1954 Convention. The Court sides with the applicants confirming their right to be recognised as stateless persons in addition to having been granted asylum-based residence status. 

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

The applicant was born in Austria to an Austrian mother and a father who was a refugee from Poland. The applicant argued that his father was stateless at the time of his birth (as this would lead to applicant being recognised as Austrian), and requested the authorities to accept his father's testimony as proof. The authorities concluded that the applicant's father was a Polish national solely on the basis of the Polish legislation, without evaluating the content of the testimony. The decision was declared unlawful on procedural grounds, as the testimony should have been taken into account. 

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

Applicant is a refugee from Vietnam, whose refugee status was withdrawn after a number of criminal convictions, combined with the fact that he made a safe trip to Vietnam. He applied for a travel document for foreigners claiming that he is stateless or at least that his nationality status is unclear. The authorities maintained that he was still a Vietnamese national, but the Court sided with the applicant, insisting that the authorities should have taken more factors into account in considering the applicant's potential statelessness. 

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

After having been born, having lived, worked and and paid taxes in Austria his whole life the applicant was told he is not entitled to unemployment benefits as he did not have a right to work in Austria. While he was granted Austrian nationality upon application, he argued that he was entitled to unemployment benefits also in the time frame between becoming unemployed and acquiring the nationality, invoking his statelessness, and lack of implementation of Statelessness Conventions by Austria. The Court denies direct applicability of the Statelessness Conventions in Austria, and rules against the applicant. 

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

The applicant was born in Armenia and belongs to Yazidis minority. After many years of unlawful residence in Austria, and several unsuccessful attempts to deport him, he applied for a toleration permit, which was refused as he did not cooperate sufficiently with the authorities' attempts to obtain travel documents for him to travel to Armenia, and there is also a possibility he may be a Russian or a Ukrainian national. The Court sided with the applicant, stating that it was the authorities' responsibility to substantiate any presumed links between the applicant and a specific state, before the duty to cooperate could be imposed.

Court name: Gent Court of Appeal
State: Belgium
Date of decision:

The applicant arrived in Belgium in 2000 from Kazakhstan. He claimed to have lost his Kazakh nationality on the basis of a Kazakh law providing for such loss in case of permanent residence abroad for over 3 years without registration at the consulate. The Court studied the relevant Kazakh legislation as well as the implementing Presidential Decree, and found that such loss is not automatic, but requires a decision of a competent authority instead, and therefore the applicant's statelessness was not sufficiently substantiated. 

Court name: Gent Court of Appeal
State: Belgium
Date of decision:

The applicant fled Kosovo in 1998, and during her asylum procedures in Belgium claimed to be a Yugoslav national, and had a Yugoslav passport as well as a birth certificate. In her statelessness determination process, the authorities and the Court found her to be uncooperative as she seemingly did not present all her identity documents to the embassy of Serbia and Montenegro with the aim of determining whether she is a Serbian national. 

Court name: Council of State of the Netherlands (Raad van State)
Date of decision:

The applicant is the mother of a stateless child born in the Netherlands, who applied for confirmation of Dutch nationality for her son. The application was rejected as the municipality neither considered it established that the child is stateless, nor that he has fulfilled the legal residence requirement. The applicant claimed that denial of confirmation of nationality for her son constitutes violations of article 8 ECHR, article 7 CRC and article 24 ICCPR, but those arguments failed in Court. The Court mentions the plans of the Dutch government to introduce a statelessness determination procedure. 

Court name: Council of State of the Netherlands (Raad van State)
Date of decision:

The applicant received asylum status as a stateless Palestinian, but his request to register his statelessness in the municipal civil records was rejected due to lack of evidence. He has an original UNRWA document and an ID from Lebanon, but they were considered insufficient proof of identity as well as of statelessness. The applicant complained that inability to affirm his statelessness violates his identity rights under article 8 ECHR, as well as his rights as a stateless person under EU law, both of which arguments didn't succeed.