Submission to the ECtHR on Ramadani v. Serbia

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In partnership with The AIRE Centre, ENS has filed a third-party intervention before the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Ramadani v. Serbia, focusing on Contracting States’ obligations to protect the right to immediate birth registration without discrimination and the importance of nationality under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

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The applicant is a child of Romani origin born in Serbia. The Serbian authorities refused to enter her name into the birth register because her mother had no identity document in support of this request, which is an explicit legal requirement in Serbia.

The submission analyses Contracting States’ obligations under Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) ECHR, and also invites the Court to consider key provisions of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and other UN treaties and resolutions. It notes that States have positive obligations to ensure respect for private and family life, which includes obligations to facilitate birth registration and issue birth certificates. It further notes that the failure to facilitate immediate birth registration impacts the ability to confirm nationality, which can be comparable to a denial of nationality by the State. The right to immediate birth registration should not be dependent on the documentation status of the child’s parents, as that constitutes both direct and indirect discriminatory treatment, prohibited by the ECHR. States also have a positive obligation to prevent and address systemic discrimination, which limits Romani individual’s access to documentation and birth registration and perpetuates cycles of intergenerational statelessness.

The third-party submission also provides general background information on the significance of birth registration in determining and confirming a child’s nationality, and on the impact of discrimination against Romani communities in Europe.

For more information on this topic, see the Legal briefing: Statelessness and the prohibition on discrimination against Romani communities.

Download the submission

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