31 January 2014

‘The Invisible: Stateless Persons in Poland’, a report published by the Halina Niec Legal Aid Center in December 2013, criticises the approach of Poland to persons who are not recognized as a citizen by any state.

Poland is one of four EU countries (the others are Estonia, Malta and Cyprus) which have not acceded to the Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (1954) and the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (1961). The report urges Poland to comply with and accede to these Conventions in order to create concrete standards regarding the legal status and rights of stateless persons.

According to the report, there is no specific statelessness determination procedure in Poland, which means the statelessness of foreign nationals often goes unrecognised. The report calls for a formalized procedure for determining either the nationality or the statelessness of foreign nationals pending the legalization of their stay in Poland. The report recommends that foreign nationals subject to such a statelessness determination procedure must be provided with accommodation, financial support, health care services and a right to work pending determination of their application, akin to the reception conditions of asylum seekers.

Poland is criticised for the absence of legislation preventing the detention of foreign nationals whose expulsion is not possible due to the inability of the authorities to ascertain their nationality.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 31 January 2014
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