“Everyone has the right to a nationality”

Consultation submission on the proposed statute law for a statelessness determination procedure in the Netherlands

Published: November 2016

Joint submission by ASKV/Refugee Support and the European Network on Statelessness as part of the consultation to the proposed statute law for a statelessness determination procedure by the Ministry of Security and Justice in the Netherlands.

ENS and ASKV/Refugee Support urge the Ministry of Security and Justice to consider the highly problematic aspects of the proposal for a statelessness determination procedure and to revise the law accordingly. The following recommendations, if adopted, would help guarantee the rights owing to stateless persons and help ensure the efficacy of the new procedure:

  • The right of residence must be granted for persons recognised as stateless under the procedure. Hereby it should follow the example of all 13 countries that have established statelessness determination procedures in the world. Without residence rights this procedure is merely symbolic and will not protect the most vulnerable. Suspension of removal is also essential during the procedure.
  • Recognised stateless persons should receive an identity document in accordance with settled jurisprudence and article 27 of the 1954 Convention. For this purpose a competent authority should be assigned.
  • The term “immediate interest” should not lead to a restriction of access to the determination procedure for stateless persons, including those applicants without residence permits. Access to a determination procedure must be guaranteed at any time.
  • Distribution of the burden of proof should be further specified. While taking into account the inherent difficulty experienced by stateless persons in proving their nationality a shared burden of proof is recommended.
  • Stateless children born in the Netherlands without legal residence should be granted the same rights as those with legal residence in order to be in accordance with international law. Creating a separate system for children without residence permits is highly undesirable and discriminatory, and runs contrary to the best interests of the child.