The legal and policy framework in the Czech Republic has some positive aspects and some significant gaps. The Czech Republic is party to most relevant international and regional instruments, including three of the four core statelessness conventions (although with some important reservations to the 1954 Convention). Some data on the stateless population in the country is available, but it is limited to those legally residing in the country.
The Czech Republic does not have a dedicated statelessness determination procedure. However, since 2019 the Ministry of Interior has issued decisions confirming statelessness under the 1954 Convention. There is no clear procedure set in law for these decisions, although jurisprudence requires that the rules applying to the refugee determination procedure should apply. Procedural safeguards are limited and recognition leads to limited rights only, although recent jurisprudence has begun to improve the situation. There are also gaps in the legal framework to protect stateless people from arbitrary immigration detention, as a country of removal does not need to be established prior to detention, statelessness is not routinely identified in detention decision-making, and, although there are some procedural safeguards, there is no periodic review of detention unless requested by the person detained.
A partial safeguard is in place to prevent children being born stateless in the Czech Republic, but this depends on the actions or status of parents. Provisions protect the right to nationality for foundlings, children born to refugees, and adopted children. Births must be registered, and birth certificates issued to all children. Documentation requirements can be waived in certain circumstances and there are mechanisms in place to determine the child’s nationality. Positively, there are no legal powers for the authorities to deprive someone of Czech nationality, no provisions for automatic loss, and safeguards are in place to prevent statelessness in cases of voluntary renunciation.
Aneta Šubrtová & Hana Franková, Organisation for Aid to Refugees (OPU)