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

This case primarily concerns NB and her disabled minor son AB as well as her husband and other children, who are UNRWA-registered stateless Palestinians. Having previously resided in the Al Bass refugee camp in Lebanon, they arrived in the United Kingdom in 2015 and are seeking refugee status on the basis of Article 1(D) of the Geneva Convention. The Court considers whether they qualify to be granted ipso facto refugee status under Article 1(D) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

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

This case concerns an Estonian national who renounced her nationality on the basis of an assurance that she would be granted Austrian nationality once proof of her renunciation was given. This assurance was revoked on the grounds that the applicant had committed road traffic offences, leaving the applicant stateless. In its judgment, the CJEU confirms that the situation at issue in the main proceedings falls within the ambit of EU law, and concluded that the authorities' decision to revoke an assurance to grant Austrian nationality was not compatible with the principle of proportionality.

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

The case concerned the refusal of the Bulgarian authorities to issue a birth certificate for the daughter of VMA and her wife as it the Bulgarian birth certificate could only recognise two parents of different sexes. The Bulgarian Administrative Court of the city of Sofia referred four questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union, in relation to balancing the child’s rights under EU law and the Member States’ prerogative to pursue specific social policy in relation to parentage.

 

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

Article 12(1)(a) of the Qualification Directive, which provides for an exclusion ground from refugee status where the applicant benefits from protection or assistance from, inter alia, UNRWA, constitutes a lex specialis, and therefore requires an assessment of whether the applicant receives such assistance or protection. In addition, a person registered with UNRWA who receives effective protection or assistance from that agency in a third country which is not the territory of her habitual residence but which forms part of the area of operations of that agency must be considered as enjoying sufficient protection in that third country in accordance with Article 35 of the Asylum Procedures Directive and therefore may not obtain asylum in the EU. The Court lays down the conditions under which the applicant may be considered as enjoying sufficient protection in that third country.

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

The communication concerned M.K.A.H., a stateless child, and centred around 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 back 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 included: (i) Switzerland had not respected the best interests of the child nor heard him at the time of the hearing of 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 what access to nationality the child could benefit from in Bulgaria. Article 7 UNCRC implicates that States must take the necessary positive actions to implement the right to acquire nationality.

Court name: CJEU
State:
Date of decision:

The case concerned the interpretation of Articles 2(f) and 15(c) of Directive 2011/95/EU on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection (hereafter recast Qualification Directive).

The national court referred two questions, concerning: i) the interpretation of article 15(c) in respect of how the degree of arbitrary violence in an armed conflict should be measured and ii) whether the assessment as to the existence of a serious and individual threat should be conducted on the basis of a comprehensive appraisal of all the circumstances of the individual case or should be based on determined factors.

The Court held that the interpretation of Article 15(c) must preclude the use of the threshold of minimum civilian casualties as the only determining factor but should be based on a comprehensive appraisal of all the circumstances of the individual case.

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

The applicant is from Western Sahara and identifies as a Sahrawi, a territory occupied by Morocco. Having fled to France, he  argued that he should qualify as a stateless person even though his birth certificate indicates that he has Moroccan nationality. He argued that this matter should be referred to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling. 

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

The case concerns the interpretation of Article 12(1)(a) of EU Directive 2004/83. The question before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) was how to determine who should have access to guarantees provided by Article 12, and what those guarantees entailed. The CJEU held that individuals who had received protection from a non-High Commissioner for Refugees (‘HCR’) UN organisation, but ceased to receive this protection due to a reason beyond their control, should automatically be granted refugee status by a Member State unless they fall into one of the exceptions of Article 12.

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

The applicant challenged a decision depriving him of his British citizenship and excluding him from the United Kingdom because of his alleged involvement and link to terrorist-related activities. After failing in his appeals to the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Special Immigration Appeal Tribunal, the applicant complained to the European Court of Human Rights (‘the Court’) under Articles 8 and 14. The Court rejected all of the applicant’s complaints, finding them to be manifestly ill-founded, and declared the application inadmissible.

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

The Court held that it is not contrary to EU law for Member States to withdraw citizenship obtained by deception, even if the effect is to also withdraw citizenship of the Union, so long as the decision observes the principle of proportionality.

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

The applicant is a dual Dutch/Moroccan national whose Dutch nationality was withdrawn on the basis of a criminal conviction for terrorist activities. The Court rejected the applicant's appeal, concluding, among others, that prevention of statelessness is a valid reason for differentiated treatment between those with a single and with multiple nationalities, and that withdrawal of nationality is not a punitive measure. Withdrawal of nationality in addition to the criminal sentence does not violate the principle that prohibits repeated punishments for the same action.  

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

A stateless applicant born in the Tajikistan Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union, was arrested for homelessness in Russia. The District Court ruled that he had to be preventively detained until expulsion back to the Tajikistan Republic.  The Russian State tried to obtain travel documentation for the applicant, overlooking the fact that the applicant was not a national of that State and that Tajikistan had no legal obligation to admit him, resulting in his preventive detention for two years. The Court found a violation of Article 5, as the applicant’s detention was not carried out in good faith due to the lack of a realistic prospect of his expulsion and the domestic authorities’ failure to conduct the proceedings with due diligence.

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: European Court of Human Rights
State: France
Date of decision:

Five applicants of dual nationality, convicted in 2007 of participating in a criminal association in a terrorist context, were stripped of their French nationality in October 2015 by Prime Minister decrees. The Court held that the decision to forfeit the applicants’ French nationality did not have a disproportionate impact on their private lives and therefore was not in violation of Article 8 of the Convention.

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

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.

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

The Georgian born applicant held former USSR citizenship until 2000, when she became stateless. Subsequently, she applied for residence registration in Moscow but was dismissed at first instance and on following appeals, due to failing to confirm her Georgian citizenship or apply for Russian citizenship. The Court ruled that there had been a violation of Article 2 § 1 of Protocol No. 4 and Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.

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

The appellant is a former USSR national, living in Latvia. The case is concerned with whether Latvia’s refusal of citizenship to a person who had criticised the Government, constituted a punitive measure in violation of that individual’s rights to freedom of expression under Article 10 and freedom of assembly and association under Article 11. The Court found no violation of articles 10 and 11 as the denial of citizenship did not affect the appellant’s relevant rights. Contrary, it highlighted that there is no “right to a nationality” under the Convention, and no provision of Latvian law indicates the appellant’s right to Latvian citizenship.

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

The applicant of Roma origin was denied a residence permit to the Netherlands on the basis of the applicant’s husband failing to meet the requirements under domestic immigration rules and because of the applicant’s multiple convictions. The Court held the Contracting State had struck a fair balance between the applicant’s Article 8 rights and its own interests in regulating its immigration.

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

Two applications (joined before the Court) concerned the removal of and the refusal to exchange passports, leaving the applicants stateless and without identity documentation, after the relevant Russian authorities found their Russian citizenship to be granted erroneously. The Court held the withdrawal of identity documents, which affected the exercise of their rights and freedoms in their daily lives, was a violation of Article 8 of the Convention.

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

The three appellants are a Stateless man with Palestinian origins, born in Kuwait, who moved to Bulgaria, and his two children born in and holding Bulgarian nationality. The first applicant's permanent residence permit was withdrawn because of engagement in alleged religious extremism, and he was detained and subsequently deported to Syria. The Court held that there had been a violation of Article 5 § 4, 8, and 13 as a result of the deportation.

Court name: Supreme Court
State: Greece
Date of decision:

France requested from the Greek authorities the extradition of a stateless person who faced multiple criminal charges.

Court name: Supreme Court (Corte Suprema di Cassazione)
State: Italy
Date of decision:

The appellant faced deportation even though her stateless status was de facto recognised. For this reason, the appellant requested that the Justice of Peace’s decision be overturned, and for her stateless status to be recognised. The Supreme Court recognised the applicant’s stateless status and overruled the Justice of Peace’s decision.

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: Supreme Court
State: Ireland
Date of decision:

The applicant brought an appeal challenging the constitutionality of s.19 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, which governs the procedure by which revocation of naturalisation is determined. The fact that the Minister initiated the revocation process, appointed the committee charged with conducting the inquiry and then reached the final decision, was unconstitutional according to the applicant, as it breached the right to fair procedures. The Court held that s.19 was unconstitutional because it did not provide the procedural safeguards required to meet the high threshold of natural justice applicable to a person facing such severe consequences, i.e. revocation of naturalisation.