In a report based on an analysis of immigration detention and related laws, policies and practices of six European countries, the European Network on Statelessness (ENS) recommends measures to end severe problems of arbitrary detention of stateless people in Europe.

The report identifies serious gaps in the data on statelessness making it at the same time difficult to address at policy level and easy for authorities to overlook protection needs – not least when it comes to arbitrary detention. In fact as stated in the report: “In many countries, through poor design or misapplication, the systems themselves render the stateless even more vulnerable to long-term detention.”

The research also revealed that all six countries had a lack of procedures to identify statelessness and that some states, such as Bulgaria, the UK and Ukraine, apply a definition of “statelessness” which falls short of the international legal one. The report also points to the fact that immigration detention in Europe has largely developed without regard to the special circumstances of stateless persons, leading in many countries to lengthy periods of detention, as there is no safe country to return them to.

The recommendations of the report include alternatives to detention, determination procedures, protection, integration as well as improved recording and reporting on statelessness.    The recommendations are based on a two-year research into statelessness and immigration detention and the law, policy, and practice in Bulgaria, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, the UK and Ukraine.

ECRE is among the organizations who has signed the Joint Statement: It’s time to end the arbitrary detention of stateless people in Europe

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Photo: From report “Protecting Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention”