The legal and policy framework on statelessness in Germany has both positive and negative aspects. It is state party to relevant human rights instruments but retains two key reservations to the 1954 Convention concerning travel documents and social security entitlements. Comprehensive population data is published online, including on statelessness, but without a dedicated procedure to identify and determine statelessness, estimates for the stateless population remain inaccurate. There are other administrative procedures through which statelessness can be identified and some case law on the determination of nationality status, however, without a proper mechanism in place, stateless people are not granted a protection status nor rights, unless also recognised as refugees.
The law establishes that a country of removal must be set prior to detaining, and procedural safeguards are in place to protect against arbitrary detention. However, Germany has entered into readmission agreements that enable stateless people to be removed to countries of former residence, without guarantees of protection. German nationality law prevents statelessness in some cases, but there is a legal residence requirement for children born stateless in Germany to acquire nationality, and problematic birth registration practices lead to inconsistencies in recording key data and access to birth certificates.
Helena-Ulrike Marambio, ENS individual member