Spain - Supreme Court (Contentious-Administrative Chamber), decision no. 469/2017 (appeal no. 2600/2016)
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The applicants are ethnic Armenians born in Azerbaijan. The case addresses extensively the situation of ethnic Armenians from Azerbaijan who left Azerbaijan before the fall of the USSR, and lived in Russia in the 90s. Their potential Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian nationalities are considered. The Court also discusses the legal residence requirement for a travel document in accordance with the 1954 Convention, and finds that such a permit does not need to be of a permanent nature. Applicants are found stateless by the Court and entitled to a stateless persons travel document.
The appellant requested that the decision of the Court of Appeal be overturned, and her stateless status be recognised. The appeal raises two points of principle: first, the burden of proof applicable to the determination of whether a person qualifies for stateless status as defined in the 1954 Convention; and secondly, the consideration of stateless persons as a particular category of foreigners comparable to beneficiaries of international protection. The court recognised the stateless status of the applicant and overruled the decision of the Court of Appeal.
The applicant was born in the USSR, on the territory of contemporary Ukraine. He was denied stateless status in France on the basis that he did not make any efforts to get recognised as a national by either Ukraine or Russia. The Court upheld OFPRA's decision, ruling moreover that since the statelessness determination procedure is not aimed at granting residence rights, the applicant cannot rely on potential violations of articles 3 and 8 ECHR in case he is forced to return to Ukraine.
The applicant was born in the former USSR in the Nagorno-Karabakh region - a contested territory between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and he is ethnically Armenian. He entered France illegally, where he applied for stateless status (after unsuccessful asylum applications), which was rejected by the OFPRA, on the basis that he did not make enough effort to obtain nationalities of either Azerbaijan or Armenia. The Court upheld the administrative decision denying applicant the stateless status.
The Supreme Court decision laid down the principle according to which the statelessness determination procedure requires evidence of: (i) the lack of nationality of the State with which the person has significant connections and (ii) the legal or factual impossibility of obtaining the nationality of that State.
Request to have nationality changed from "unknown" to "stateless" denied, as it cannot be ruled out that the applicant's father has Macedonian nationality. Applicant did not provide enough evidence to determine statelessness.
If stateless individuals are not lawfully staying in the country, Contracting States may provide travel documents but the decision to grant them is discretionary, provided it is free from arbitrariness. A person applying for travel documents can be reasonably expected to return to their previous place of residence and apply for the nationality of their country of origin.
After twice being denied a residence permit, the applicant initiated civil proceedings against the Dutch state to obtain a declaratory judgment that the applicant is stateless. The District Court of The Hague considers, citing three cases from the European Court of Human Rights, that the determination of statelessness is not a fundamental right under art. 8 ECHR and there is no obligation for the country of residence to determine whether someone is stateless, if foreign authorities (such as the country of origin) refuse to grant nationality or acknowledge the applicant as a citizen. If fundamental rights can be safeguarded through a different procedure, there is no violation of art. 8 ECHR.
An appeal as to whether the Secretary of State was precluded under the British Nationality Act 1981 from making an order depriving the appellant of British citizenship because to do so would render him stateless.