The absence of any legislative provision granting persons recognised as stateless in Belgium a residence right, comparable to that enjoyed by recognised refugees, is discriminatory.
Articles 7.1, 23 and 24 of the 1954 Convention
Articles 10 and 11 of the Belgian Constitution (principle of equal treatment and non-discrimination)
Article 49 of the Law of 15 December 1980 (Aliens Law)
Article 98 of the Royal Decree of 8 October 1981 (Aliens Decree)
The Constitutional Court held that the difference in treatment in regard to their right of residence between recognised refugees and recognised stateless persons who involuntarily lost their nationality and cannot obtain a legal and durable right of residence in another state, constitutes discrimination since different treatment is applied to persons who find themselves in comparable situations.
The Constitutional Court concluded that a stateless person who has been recognised as such because he has involuntarily lost his nationality, and shows that he cannot obtain a legal and durable right of residence in another state with which he has ties, is discriminated against in the enjoyment of his fundamental rights. This discrimination, stated the Constitutional Court, stems from the absence of any legislative provision granting persons recognised as stateless in Belgium a right of residence comparable to the one enjoyed by refugees.
According to Constitutional Court, it was first and foremost up to the legislator to remedy this situation, as only the legislator can set the conditions under which stateless persons are entitled to acquire a residence permit.
The case was referred back to the Labour Court as the judgement of the Constitutional Court was a response to a preliminary question asked by the Labour Court.