Breaking the Presumption That Applicants of Statelessness Determination Procedures Are Foreign
This article considers the situation of those who apply for a determination of their status as a stateless person but could, nonetheless, be nationals of the state in which they apply. Cases of in situ statelessness provide the most opportunity for the identification of these situations. After having identified 23 formal Statelessness Determination Procedures (‘SDP’) adopted as of 2020 from 23 countries, it is conclusive that these norms presume the applicant is foreign. However, eight countries have been mapped with safeguards in their SDP norms recognising the possibility that there could be identified applicants who may be nationals and what to do in cases of doubt. These safeguards are adopted by four countries in the Americas (Costa Rica, Panama, Paraguay and Argentina) and four countries in Europe (Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Turkey). These constitute good practices that should be taken into consideration by further SDP norms adopted in the future, modifications of current SDP norms and statistics. This issue constitutes a ‘red flag’ for raising awareness of discriminatory state policies that assume stateless applicants are foreign and should receive second-class citizenship (naturalization), rather than refer the case to the corresponding national civil registry authorities and facilitate the access to nationality. The objective of this article has not yet been analysed by doctrine or the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.