Update from June 2022:
The Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) publishes official statistics on the statelessness determination procedure and international protection claims in France. In 2021, 266 new claims for statelessness status were lodged, a 11% decrease compared to 2020. 36% were applicants from Europe, 43% from Africa, and 20% from Asia. People of Sahrawi origin were the largest group of applicants (20%). In 2021, 119 decisions have granted protection to statelessness people (admission rate: 24,3%). Additionally, 38 adults who lodged an international protection claim were granted protection as ‘stateless-refugees’. As of 31 December 2021, 1,716 stateless people had been granted protection under the SDP.
There were no major legal or policy reforms relating to statelessness in France in 2021. In September 2021, Forum Refugies published new analysis of detention and statelessness in France, and in March 2022, it published a new toolkit for refugee response actors to help identify, support, and refer people who are stateless or at risk of statelessness.
New resources on France now available include:
- 2021 Statelessness Index Survey
- Report on detention and statelessness in France (September 2021)
- Toolkit for refugee response actors on how to identify, support and refer people who are stateless or at risk of statelessness in France (April 2022)
- Policy briefing on risks of childhood statelessness for the children associated with alleged ‘foreign fighters’ detained in Syria and Iraq (focus on the Netherlands, UK, and France) (October 2021)
There are positive aspects to law and policy in France. Its statelessness determination procedure (SDP) is accessible, there is a right to appeal, and a multi-annual residence permit with the right to a travel document is granted to those recognised as stateless. The law requires that detention is a last resort and that a country of removal is identified prior to detaining. There are provisions in law to prevent statelessness including among children born on the territory or to nationals abroad, and safeguards to prevent deprivation of nationality leading to statelessness.
However, there are also key gaps. France is not Party to three of the four core statelessness conventions and although some disaggregated data on the SDP and stateless refugees is published, it does not capture statelessness in its census. Applicants for stateless status under the SDP have no legal right to stay and there is no simplified route to naturalisation. People released from detention are not protected from re-detention. Although there is a safeguard in law for children born stateless in France, its implementation is problematic with some children being required to go through the SDP to prove their statelessness. Late birth registration is only possible through the courts and there is emerging evidence of barriers to birth registration and prompt issuance of birth certificates for some children born on French territory.
Information below by theme was last updated in March 2021.