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OAS Course on Statelessness: Procedures for Determining Statelessness Status Laura van Waas - Statelessness Programme -

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Presentation on theme: "OAS Course on Statelessness: Procedures for Determining Statelessness Status Laura van Waas - Statelessness Programme -"— Presentation transcript:

1 OAS Course on Statelessness: Procedures for Determining Statelessness Status Laura van Waas - Statelessness Programme -

2 Setting the Scene You work at a civil registry office and a man approaches the desk, claiming that he is stateless. He explains that he needs to travel abroad to seek specialised healthcare and asks for your help to get him a travel document. What can / should you do? You are an immigration officer who oversees expulsion proceedings. You are worried about a case of a woman who has been held in immigration detention for 7 months now because you are unable to find a country willing to admit her. What can / should you do? Statelessness Programme

3 Statelessness Status Determination? Statelessness status determination procedures can… Be a precursor to issuing a stateless person travel document Help states to find an appropriate solution for people trapped in immigration detention Be key to ensuring that stateless people enjoy rights to which they are entitled under international law Facilitate the application of safeguards that prevent new cases of statelessness [e.g. where a parents statelessness has been established] Increase visibility of issue of statelessness Statelessness Programme

4 SSD: General Considerations Who should determine statelessness status? Who should initiate the procedure? Who should be obliged to establish statelessness? What kind of evidence should be admitted? How much evidence is needed to establish statelessness? What should be the status of applicants awaiting status determination? Statelessness Programme

5 Competent Authority Who should determine statelessness status? Centalised vs. decentralised authority New / separate vs. existing body [e.g. integrate into asylum or immigration procedures?] Specialised expertise and training Binding effect of determinations Right to an effective remedy Statelessness Programme

6 Who should initiate the procedure? Determination upon the request of the applicant Determination at the initiative of the state, ex officio? Procedures should be simple and accessible [e.g. reasonable fees, availability of legal aid] Determination should be on individual basis Statelessness Programme Initiating the Procedure

7 Burden of Proof Who should be obliged to establish statelessness? Necessity of sharing burden of proof, between applicant and state what can each contribute? Applicants role: to cooperate to establish relevant facts States role: to facilitate search for evidence Burden of proof may also shift during procedure, e.g from applicant to state Statelessness Programme

8 Evidence What kind of evidence should be admitted? Assessment of nationality law and practice All available evidence should be considered Contacting foreign authorities [not appropriate if there are protection concerns] Non-response from foreign authorities as evidence? Hearing the applicant Statelessness Programme

9 Standard of Proof How much evidence is needed to establish statelessness? Any state vs. all states with which state does applicant have links? Substantiate vs. prove Evidentiary requirements should not be so onerous as to prevent stateless people enjoying protection Statelessness Programme

10 Applicant Status What should be the status of applicants awaiting status determination? Minimum set of rights Avoidance of arbitrary detention [alternatives to detention] Statelessness Programme

11 Statelessness Status What should be the status of persons recognised as stateless? Stable legal status residence and rights Pathway to nationality? [link to facilitated naturalisation for stateless persons] Statelessness Programme

12 Final Observations Statelessness Status Determination not just relevant to state parties of 1954 Statelessness Convention practical solution for any state facing cases Expert meeting conclusions on Statelessness Status Determination Procedures and Status (Dec. 2010) UNHCR Guidelines (forthcoming 2012) Technical support from UNHCR Examples of existing state practice Statelessness Programme


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