Protecting stateless persons from arbitrary detention

The European Network on Statelessness (ENS) has published its new report, ‘Facing a lifetime of uncertainty: Protecting stateless persons from arbitrary detention.’

In this new report ENS reveals the extent to which immigration detention is imposed without addressing the vulnerabilities of the stateless and without proper inquiry about the prospect of return.

Citizenship has often been described as the ‘right to have rights’. In the United Kingdom (UK), between the introduction of the statelessness determination procedures on 9 April 2013 and 31 March 2016, a total of 1,592 applications were made. In the immigration detention context in particular, the protection needs of those who cannot be returned to their presumed country of origin often significantly overlap with those of the stateless.

The report includes moving testimony from people living in an administrative limbo, unable to remain in the UK yet ‘unreturnable’ and therefore often at risk of statelessness. The report looks at the experiences of stateless people in the UK.

In the report, ENS makes a number of recommendations including calls for greater training for immigration officers to identify statelessness, an end to indefinite detention and for the Home Office to investigate, develop and pilot community-based alternatives similar to those used in other jurisdictions. We couldn’t agree more!