Switzerland – A v State Secretariat for Migration (Staatssekretariat für Migration – SEM) - Federal Administrative Court (FAC) Case no. F-1297/2017
The Federal Administrative Court (FAC) specifies its case law on the legitimate interest in the proceedings of an application for the recognition of statelessness. The FAC approves the appeal of a member of the Ajanib minority from Syria whose application was rejected by the State Secretariat for Migration and recognizes his stateless status.
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 Syrian national of Kurdish ethnicity, who unsuccessfully applied for asylum in Switzerland. He subsequently claimed that he has been deprived of Syrian nationality and therefore ought to be recognised as stateless. The State Secretariat for Migration and the Court decided that he did not meet the standard of proof to substantiate his statelessness of 'full proof'.
Applicants are two Syrian Kurds who entered Switzerland on Syrian passports and claimed asylum, but the asylum application was rejected. They subsequently claimed recognition as stateless persons, but that request failed too.
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.
The family applied for statelessness determination, claiming to be stateless since they were not able to receive identity documents from any state, despite trying for years, and were not recognised by any state. The authorities rejected the application for statelessness determination with the argument that they did not fulfil their duty to cooperate. The lack of any form of documentation is interpreted as a sign for the lack of credibility and willingness to cooperate rather than a possible indication of statelessness. The Federal Administrative Court upheld the decision arguing that the applicants had not demonstrated that they had undertaken the necessary steps to receive identity documents. The situation of the children is not examined separately. Arguments relating to the best interests of the child are not discussed.