Cyprus is not State Party to any of the four core statelessness conventions, being one of only three European Union Member States yet to accede to the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons. Its performance against international standards in other areas of the Index is generally weak, and there is very little reliable data on the stateless population. Although statelessness is referenced in Cypriot law and may be identified in certain administrative procedures, there is no definition of a stateless person, no dedicated statelessness determination procedure, no stateless protection status, few protections against arbitrary detention, and few safeguards to prevent statelessness in Cypriot nationality law.
Some procedural safeguards exist in the asylum procedure and in relation to detention, including the right to legal aid and remedies. If refused asylum and subsidiary protection, a stateless person may be considered for a short-term residence permit on humanitarian grounds by the Migration Department, but this is discretionary, grants limited rights and is not consistently applied. There is no safeguard to prevent children being born stateless in Cyprus, nor to regulate the nationality of foundlings, issues that were raised by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in its latest Concluding Observations to Cyprus. Problematic birth registration practices, including fees and requests for documentation, heighten the risk of statelessness among certain groups. Children born to Cypriot parents abroad acquire nationality automatically, but where a child is born in Cyprus to one Cypriot parent and one non-Cypriot who entered or remained in Cyprus irregularly, a discriminatory condition prevents the child from acquiring nationality unless the Ministerial Council orders otherwise. There are no safeguards to prevent statelessness in cases of deprivation of Cypriot nationality.
Corina Drousiotou, Cyprus Refugee Council