The European Network on Statelessness (ENS) has launched this week a guide on good practices in statelessness determination procedures. The guide is intended as a tool for countries considering the establishment or the improvement of such a procedure, and for civil society organisations advocating better protection for stateless persons.
The publication highlights that a failure to implement a fair and accessible determination procedure in compliance with international law standards would result in people not being correctly identified as stateless and consequently being denied the protection they are entitled to.
The guide looks at the twelve States that have procedures in place to identify and protect stateless persons, as well as at UNHCR and expert guidance and international law, in order to identify good practices that other States can replicate or adapt.
The publication addresses key areas which States need to take into account when developing a stateless determination procedure, including the structure of the procedure (authority in charge and the relationship with asylum procedures); access to the procedure; length of the procedure and safeguards (access to legal assistance and interpretation); evidence assessment; the appeal phase and the content of the status granted (residence permit, access to the labour market, education, health care and facilitated naturalisation).
The guide is released as part of a recent ENS campaign to protect stateless persons in Europe, which calls on all Member States to accede to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and for those States yet to introduce a dedicated determination procedure to do so.