R.G. unsuccessfully applied for refugee status in 2007. In 2013 he submitted a new application claiming that he had become a stateless person after country F had refused to confirm his citizenship, and that therefore new factual circumstance had arisen that justified submitting another application.
The Court pointed out that the refusal of one country to confirm his citizenship does not automatically mean that no country will confirm his citizenship and that the question of whether he is a stateless person is irrelevant when assessing the conditions for granting refugee status or other forms of international protection.
In its decision of June 2007, the President of the Office for Repatriation and Foreigners (currently: the Head of the Office for Foreigners) (“Authority”) refused to grant R.G. refugee status.
The Authority established that R.G. came to Poland in 2006 for health reasons, as he was the victim of a bombing and was hospitalized in country G.
R.G. did not have any documents to prove his citizenship or nationality.
According to R.G.’s statement, he is a citizen of country F, but he does not want to return to his country of origin because of his health problems.
R.G. appealed against the Authority’s decision, but it was upheld by the second instance authority – the Council for Refugees (“CfR”). Since no further appeals were made, the decision became final.
Then, in April 2013, R.G. submitted another application to be granted refugee status, indicating that he is a citizen of country F, born in country G. The Authority discontinued the proceedings, declaring that a second application for refugee status was inadmissible as it had been submitted after the applicant had received the final refusal decision and because the application was based on the same grounds.
R.G. appealed against the second decision, but it was upheld by the CfR.
R.G. then appealed against the CfR’s decision to the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw. He claimed that the new application was submitted after new circumstances had arisen, i.e. country F had refused to confirm his citizenship. Therefore, in this situation, he became a stateless person and it was necessary to submit a new application.
The proceedings regarding R.G.’s new application should not have been discontinued. The Authority did not take into account the new factual circumstance, i.e. the applicant's statelessness.
The CfR requested the dismissal of the appeal. It claimed that R.G. did not show any facts or circumstances that could justify granting him refugee status.
The Court dismissed the appeal, stating that:
“The authority rightly considered that it was necessary to examine the issue of whether the subsequent application was based on new grounds that had not been previously considered by the authority examining the first application in the case. The court shared the authority's view that the doubts as to the applicant's actual country of origin and nationality are not a new circumstance that arose in relation to R.G.”
“Doubts as to the applicant's country of origin and nationality had existed since the initiation of the proceedings on the first application for refugee status. The applicant did not submit any documents that could confirm his statements. (…) The applicant speaks the language (...) and lived in country G, but did not apply to that country for protection when country F refused to confirm his nationality.”
“As to the circumstance that the applicant had become a stateless person, he did not provide any documents that could confirm his situation. The refusal to confirm his citizenship by one country does not automatically mean that no country will confirm his citizenship. On the other hand, the mere fact of statelessness does not constitute grounds for granting refugee status. The legal situation of a stateless person is difficult, because no state undertakes to protect him as its citizen, but in the normal course of events it does not lead to the emergence of the convention grounds for granting refugee status. Therefore, even if the applicant turned out to be a stateless person, the authority rightly did not take this circumstance into account, as it is irrelevant when assessing the conditions for granting refugee status or other forms of international protection.”