Protecting Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention: An Agenda for Change

Protecting Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention

This report is the final publication of a three-year project aimed at better understanding the extent and consequences of the detention of stateless persons in Europe, and creating tools and advocating for the protection of stateless persons from arbitrary detention through the application of regional and international standards.

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.

All other project outputs are available at: In this project, ENS has published a series of six country reports highlighting the gaps and raising awareness about the extent of the issue and impact on stateless people, as well as a toolkit for practitioners across Europe, and a collection of some of the personal stories from stateless people interviewed for the project.

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