#LOCKEDINLIMBO STATEMENT - It’s time to end the arbitrary detention of stateless people in Europe

The statement is now open to endorsement online.

As the European Network on Statelessness (ENS) releases its new report, ‘Protecting Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention: An Agenda for Change’, at a major regional conference in Budapest on 4-5 May 2017, we, the undersigned, are calling on European governments to take urgent action to end the arbitrary detention of stateless people and those at risk of statelessness.

A consensus is building in Europe that the current use of immigration detention is unsustainable, harmful, and, in many cases, unlawful. The ENS report draws on research from six European countries, shining a light on systems and practices in which men, women, and children without a nationality are trapped. Many find themselves subjected to long term detention despite there being no reasonable prospect of return. Few are able to break this cycle and are therefore left in legal limbo for years.

We urge states to fulfil their international obligations towards stateless people and those at risk of statelessness by taking proactive steps to protect them from unlawful and arbitrary detention, and guarantee their fundamental rights and freedoms. Above all, it is imperative that states put in place effective procedures to identify and recognise statelessness, assess and respond to vulnerabilities at all stages of immigration proceedings, urgently implement community based alternatives to detention, and grant stateless people and those who cannot be removed a legal status and basic rights, including equal access to social security, employment, education, and healthcare.

The report makes a series of concrete recommendations in five priority areas for reform, so that law, policy and practice reflect - and apply without discrimination - international human rights standards. We hereby call on states to urgently bring about an end to the arbitrary immigration detention of stateless people in Europe, by:

  1. Implementing a range of alternatives to detention in line with international standards and good practice, improving guidance to ensure that statelessness is considered as a relevant factor in all decisions to detain, and that decisions adhere to international standards on the prohibition of arbitrary detention.
  2. Developing Statelessness Determination Procedures that meet international standards and good practice, are fully accessible to all those subject to their jurisdiction (including in detention), and which enable states to identify and grant protection to those recognised as stateless.
  3. Putting in place robust mechanisms to protect individuals’ rights, respond to vulnerabilities, and exercise the duty to not discriminate, including through prohibiting the detention of children and combatting gender and disability related discrimination.
  4. Facilitating integration in the community through providing protection from re-detention, access to basic rights and freedoms for those awaiting determination of their status, and regularisation and a facilitated route to naturalisation for those recognised as stateless.
  5. Improving recording and reporting on statelessness, building accountability into the operation of immigration detention systems, publishing disaggregated statistics, and facilitating access for independent monitoring bodies, lawyers and community members.

The European Network on Statelessness, and the below signatories, are committed to constructively working with governments, UN bodies and other stakeholders to help translate these recommendations into effective and enduring reform.

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  1. Adam Weiss, Managing Director of the European Roma Rights Centre (Hungary)
  2. Adrian Berry, Chair of the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association - ILPA (United Kingdom)
  3. Aleksandra Semeriak (Spain)
  4. Alexandra Gröller, CEO Diakonie Flüchtlingsdienst (Austria)
  5. Alison Harvey (United Kingdom)
  6. Professor Alison Phipps, UNESCO Chair Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at University of Glasgow (Scotland, United Kingdom)
  7. Allan Leas, Chair of the European Network on Statelessness (United Kingdom)
  8. Amal de Chickera, Co-Director of the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (United Kingdom)
  9. Anisa Metalla, Attorney at law at Tirana Legal Aid Society - TLAS (Albania)
  10. Anna Zobnina, Chair of the  European Network of Migrant Women - ENOMW (EU)
  11. Arsenio García Cores, Lawyer (Spain)
  12. Barbara Joannon, Head of EU Affairs at Forum Réfugiés-Cosi (France)
  13. Barbara von Rütte, PhD Fellow at the University of Bern (Switzerland)
  14. Bo Kanters, Socia-legal coordinator at STIL (Netherlands)
  15. Boriss Cilevics, Member of the Parliament of Latvia
  16. Caia Vlieks, PhD Researcher at Tilburg University (Netherlands)
  17. Catherine Blanchard, Senior Researcher at British Red Cross (United Kingdom)
  18. Catherine Cosgrave, Legal Services Manager at the Immigrant Council of Ireland (Ireland)
  19. Catherine Harrington, Manager at the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights Campaign (USA)
  20. Catherine Woollard, Secretary General of European Council on Refugees and Exiles - ECRE
  21. Celia Clarke, Director of Bail for Immigration Detainees (United Kingdom)
  22. Chris Nash, Director of the European Network on Statelessness (United Kingdom)
  23. Cynthia Orchard, Legal Policy Officer at Asylum Aid (United Kingdom)
  24. Danae Psilla, Advocacy Coordinator at Detention Action (United Kingdom)
  25. Daniel Wilsher, Professor of Law at University of London (United Kingdom)
  26. Daniela Di Rado, Italian Council for Refugees - CIR (Italy)
  27. Daniela Vitiello, Senior Visiting Fellow at the University of Bern (Switzerland)
  28. David Bradwell, Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees (Scotland, United Kingdom)
  29. Davina Wadley, Coordinator of the Statelessness Network Asia Pacific - SNAP (Asia and the Pacific)
  30. Diana Radoslavova, Chairman and Head Attorney at the Center for Legal Aid - Voice in Bulgaria (Bulgaria)
  31. Doris Peschke, General Secretary Churches' Commission for Migrants in Europe - CCME (Belgium)
  32. Elena Rozzi, Association for Juridical Studies on Immigration - ASGI (Italy)
  33. Eleni Takou, Senior Advocacy Officer at SolidarityNow (Greece)
  34. Professor Elspeth Guild, Queen Mary University of London (United Kingdom)
  35. Eric Fripp, Barrister at Lamb Building (United Kingdom)
  36. Erika Kalantzi (Greece)
  37. Eva Ersbøll, Senior researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights (Denmark)
  38. Eva Singer, Head of Asylum and Repatriation Department, Danish Refugee Council (Denmark)
  39. Fizza Qureshi, Director of the Migrants' Rights Network (United Kingdom)
  40. Gábor Gyulai, Refugee Programme Director at the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (Hungary)
  41. Professor Gerard-René de Groot, Emeritus Professor at Maastricht University (Netherlands)
  42. Professor Guy Goodwin-Gill, Emeritus Fellow at All Souls College (United Kingdom)
  43. Helena-Ulrike Marambio (Germany)
  44. Ivanka Kostic, Executive Director of Praxis (Serbia)
  45. Iverna McGowan, Head of European Institutions Office and Advocacy Director, Amnesty International European Institutions Office (Belgium)
  46. Professor James Hathaway, University of Michigan Law School (United States)
  47. Jared Ficklin, Co-director of the Liverpool Law Clinic (United Kingdom)
  48. Jason Tucker, Post doctoral Researcher at Malmö University (Sweden)
  49. Jean Lambert, Member of the European Parliament (United Kingdom)
  50. Jem Stevens, Europe Regional Coordinator, International Detention Coalition - IDC
  51. Joanna Whiteman, Co-Director of Equal Rights Trust (United Kingdom)
  52. Dr John R Campbell, Reader in the Anthropology of Africa & Law at SOAS (United Kingdom)
  53. Jose Ignacio Garcia SJ, Regional Director of Jesuit Refugee Service Europe (Belgium)
  54. Joseph Senyo Kwashie, Executive Director of Community and Family Aid Foundation (Ghana)
  55. Jozef Hertsens, President of Vluchtelingen Ondersteuning Sint-Niklaas - VLOSvzw (Belgium)
  56. Judith Carter, In house Solicitor and Lecturer at Liverpool Law Clinic (United Kingdom)
  57. Jyothi Kanics, Research Fellow at University of Lucerne (Switzerland)
  58. Katarzyna Przybyslawska, President of Halina Niec Legal Aid Center (Poland)
  59. Kate Alexander, Director at Scottish Detainee Visitors (Scotland, United Kingdom)
  60. Kateryna Gaidei, Lawyer at Desyate Kvitnya (Ukraine)
  61. Katia Bianchini, Researcher at the Max Planck Institute (Germany)
  62. Katja Swider, University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)
  63. Lewis Kett, Solicitor at Duncan Lewis Solicitors (United Kingdom)
  64. Liesl Muller, Head of the Statelessness Project at Lawyers for Human Rights Attorney (South Africa)
  65. Manlio di Stefano, Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Italy)
  66. Marek Linha, Adviser at Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers - NOAS (Norway)
  67. Maria Zalokosta, Legal Advisor at Future Worlds Center (Cyprus)
  68. Marlotte van Dael, Researcher at ASKV Refugee Support (Netherlands)
  69. Matthew Evans, Director of the AIRE Centre (United Kingdom)
  70. Maureen Lynch, Affiliate at IOS (USA)
  71. Maurice Wren, Chief Executive of Refugee Council (United Kingdom)
  72. Michele LeVoy, Director of PICUM (Belgium)
  73. Michelle Mila van Burik Bihari (Netherlands)
  74. Milos Jankovic, Deputy Ombudsperson for the Protection of Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty and Head of the National Preventive Mechanism against Torture in the Republic of Serbia (Serbia)
  75. Naim Osmani, Executive Director of the Civil Rights Program Kosovo - CRP/K (Kosovo)
  76. Nando Sigona, Senior Lecturer at University of Birmingham (United Kingdom)
  77. Natasa Kovacevic, Executive director of the Information Legal Centre (Croatia)
  78. Neil Falzon, Director of aditus foundation (Malta)
  79. Nevena Petrusic, Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Nis (Serbia)
  80. Neža Kogovšek Šalamon, Director of the Peace Institute (Slovenia)
  81. Nikola Bodiroga, Associate Professor at the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Law (Serbia)
  82. Ninetta Kazantzis, President of Pancyprian Coordinating Committee for the Protection and Welfare of Children - PCCPWC (Cyprus)
  83. Oleg Palii, President of the Law Center of Advocates (Moldova)
  84. Olga Tseitlina, Lawyer at Memorial HR Centre (Russia)
  85. Ostap Tymchiy, Expert at Right to Protection in partnership with HIAS (Ukraine)
  86. Avv. Paolo Farci, Lawyer - Bar Association of Florence (Italy)
  87. Pascale Coissard, Advocacy Officer of the Comissió Catalana d’Ajuda al Refugiat - CCAR (Spain)
  88. Rian Ederveen, Staff Member at Stichting LOS (Netherlands)
  89. Razvan Samoila, Executive Director of the Romanian Forum for Refugees and Migrants - ARCA (Romania)
  90. Rene Rouwette, Executive Director Civil Rights Organization Kompass (Netherlands)
  91. Revijara Oosterhuis, Coordinator at Meldpunt Vreemdelingendetentie (Netherlands)
  92. Sarah Woodhouse, Co-director of the Liverpool Law Clinic (United Kingdom)
  93. Sofija Mandic, Belgrade Centre for Security Policy Legal Researcher (Serbia)
  94. Soraya Post, Member of the European Parliament (Sweden)
  95. Spyridon Koulocheris, Head of Legal Research at Greek Council for Refugees (Greece)
  96. Stefan Leonescu, Legal Counsellor at the Jesuit Refugee Service Romania (Romania)
  97. Stefanie Grant, Chair of the institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (Netherlands)
  98. Stephania Kulaeva, Director of ADC Memorial (Russian Federation)
  99. Stephen Hale, Chief Executive of Refugee Action (United Kingdom)
  100. Svetlana Djackova, Researcher at the Latvian Centre for Human Rights (Latvia)
  101. Dr Tamas Molnar (Austria)
  102. Tareq Shrourou, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights Director (United Kingdom)
  103. Theo Miltenburg, Coordinator at Stichting Ros (Netherlands)
  104. Theo Nederstigt, Board member of the Stichting Vluchtelingkinderen (The Netherlands)
  105. Thomas McGee, Independent Researcher on Statelessness (Iraq)
  106. Tomáš Boček, CoE Secretary General's Special Representative on Migration and Refugees
  107. Tommaso Braida, LLM at the Uppsala University (Sweden)
  108. Valeria Ilareva, Executive Director of Foundation for Access to Rights - FAR (Bulgaria)
  109. Victor Lilov, Managing Partner at Black Flamingo Publishing (Bulgaria)
  110. Victoria Vandermeeren, Lawyer (Belgium)
  111. Willem Maas, Professor at the York University (Canada)
  112. Zoe Papassiopi-Passia, Emerita Professor of Law at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece)
  113. Zoran Drangovski, President of the Macedonian Young Lawyers Association - MYLA (Macedonia)
  114. Zuzana Stevulova, Director of the Human Rights League (Slovakia)
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