Deprivation of nationality made as an orderly sanction for failure to fulfil obligations that apply to all citizens, cannot be considered as a form of persecution that could justify asylum.
Sec. 60 German law on permission to reside (AufenthaltsG)
Sec. 3 German law on procedure for asylum (AsyVerfG)
Art. 9 Directive (EC) 2004/83
The applicants are from Azerbaijan, but belong to the minority of Armenians in that country. They were deprived of their nationality by the authorities in Azerbaijan for unclear reasons and sought asylum in Germany.They were residing in Russia before travelling to Germany to seek asylum.
The applicants claimed that they were discriminated against by the authorities in Azerbaijan.
The German authorities believed that the applicants were not entitled to asylum. The fact that their home country deprived the applicants of their nationality would not necessarily be an act of discrimination.
The claim was rejected and the judgment of the lower instance court, which had been in favour of the applicants, was annulled.
The court held that deprivation of nationality can constitute a persecution which may entitle the stateless individual to asylum. However, this is only the case if the deprivation of nationality is linked to aspects justifying the granting of asylum to stateless persons. If the deprivation is made as an orderly sanction for for failure to fulfil obligations that apply to all citizens, it cannot be considered as a form of persecution that could justify asylum.
This is the case, for example, when a person is deprived of their nationality because they refuse to perform military service under the laws of their country. The same applies if a person loses their nationality because they do not comply with a law of their country which requires citizens to return home after a certain period of time abroad.
In the present case, the Court could not rule out the possibility that the applicants might have lost their nationality because they failed to notify the consulate of their country of origin after more than five years' residence in Germany. In such a case, the deprivation would not give rise to a right to asylum.
Therefore, the applicants could only be entitled to asylum if they had been persecuted in the country where they were before entering Germany. Since additional factual evidence was required for the examination of this aspect, the case was referred back to the lower court.
The application was rejected and the decision of the lower court, which had been in favour of the applicants, was set aside. Due to a lack of factual information on the details required for a final decision, the case was referred back to the lower court.
BVerwG, Buchholz 402.25 § 1 AsylVfG Nr. 180 S. 63 = NVwZ-RR 1996, 602
BVerwG, Buchholz 402.25 § 1 AsylVfG Nr. 224