Joint submission to the Committee Against Torture on Montenegro
Civic Alliance, Human Rights Action, Phiren Amenca, and the European Network on Statelessness made a joint submission to the Committee Against Torture, ahead of the periodic report on Montenegro at its 73rd session in April 2022.
The submission analyses the rights of stateless people and human rights challenges in Montenegro pertaining to statelessness, including cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, in light of its obligations under the Convention Against Torture. The submission focuses on two issues:
I. Statelessness determination and the rights of stateless persons
II. Children’s right to a nationality and discrimination in accessing birth registration.
The submission reiterated previous recommendations made to Montenegro, and asks the Committee Against Torture to consider urging the Montenegrin Government to:
- Take concrete steps to facilitate access to the statelessness determination procedure (SDP) for all stateless persons in Montenegro, regardless of their residence status, and ensure its implementation is harmonised across the territory and in line with UNHCR guidance and good practice.
- Amend the Law on Foreigners to allow for persons recognised as stateless to be automatically granted a residence permit and all rights protected under the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.
- Improve the recording of statelessness, namely by harmonising quantitative data on stateless persons and those at risk of statelessness, ensuring that statistical data covers the entire population affected by statelessness, and publish annual reliable, transparent, disaggregated and comparable statistics on statelessness determination, immigration detention and removal procedures.
- Ensure that policies and practices relating to birth registration take into account UNHCR guidelines and good practice and remove all practical barriers to birth registration, with a particular focus on minority groups including Roma and Egyptian communities, so that all children are registered immediately regardless of their parents’ documentation or residence status.
- Ensure that children’s nationality status is determined as soon as possible after birth in order to ensure that otherwise stateless children born in Montenegro acquire a nationality.
- Provide training and capacity building to frontline civil registry officials to address discriminatory and stereotypical attitudes and take steps to build trust between the authorities and Roma and Egyptian communities to facilitate access to essential services including civil registration.
- Ensure that all stateless people on the territory, including members of Roma and Egyptian communities, have access to fundamental rights in law and in practice without any discrimination.