The Broadening Protection Gap for Stateless Palestinian Refugees in Belgium
This paper reflects upon the issue of statelessness, Palestinians and a recent evolution of Belgian caselaw. When seeking to apply the definition of a ‘stateless person’, as found in art 1 of the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons to Palestinians, judges are confronted with specific challenges. Since 2016, divergent standards are developing as to the question of whether, and in which circumstances, Palestinians may be stateless for the purposes of international law. This evolution takes place in a national landscape characterised by a statelessness determination procedure that falls short of standards set out in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Handbook on Protection of Stateless Persons in a number of areas, while a growing number of asylum seekers originating from Palestine are registered over the period 2016–19. This paper exposes, anno 2020, the protection gaps left open by the remarkably divergent approaches to this question taken by the different national actors involved.