More detail on the issue and additional resources
Which authorities should determine statelessness? Statelessness can be determined through a dedicated statelessness determination procedure (SDP) or as part of a refugee status determination procedure. The risk of statelessness should be identified at registration, but determined later, with legal assistance and other safeguards. The same principles should apply across determination procedures, and there should be appropriate links and referral mechanisms between them. If authorities do not identify and determine statelessness through robust procedures, stateless refugees may be seriously disadvantaged, and decisions about them may be unlawful and subject to appeal.
Failure to self-identify as stateless should not affect credibility assessments: Some stateless refugees may not be aware they are stateless or of the relevance of their lack of nationality, or they may fear telling the authorities they are stateless because of past experiences of discrimination or persecution. If (risk of) statelessness is not identified at registration stages, later doubts about a person’s nationality should not affect the assessment of their credibility in asylum or other procedures.
It can be hard to prove statelessness and links to a country: Some stateless refugees have documents that show they are stateless; for example, people who had a nationality but have lost it may have proof. Some stateless people have little or no evidence of their identity, statelessness, their place of birth, family links, or links to a country. Decision-makers should assist them to obtain evidence if possible, accept non-documentary evidence, and give them the benefit of the doubt if no evidence is available.
Stateless people have often faced discrimination: Some have been severely socially, politically and economically disadvantaged in countries of origin or former residence. For example, they may have been denied access to civil registration and documentation, formal education and employment, healthcare, equal marriage and property rights. They may be further disadvantaged in accessing bureaucratic systems and processes as they seek protection in Europe.
Statelessness can be linked to a Refugee Convention reason, or not: Lack of nationality may be (part of) the reason that a stateless person has left their country of origin – for example, Rohingya who faced persecution based on ethnicity and were denied nationality in Myanmar. Other stateless people may be among those displaced by more generalised conflict – for example, stateless Palestinians and Kurds fleeing Syria. Either way, statelessness should be properly determined and recorded, and stateless persons protected.