The Republic of North Macedonia’s legal framework enshrines some basic protections against arbitrary detention, and some safeguards to prevent and reduce statelessness. However, although it is state party to the statelessness conventions, there is no statelessness determination procedure, and no stateless protection status. There is a very limited route to regularisation for some stateless people on the territory (who were citizens of the former Yugoslavia) but options for others are limited to applying for asylum or a temporary residence permit at the discretion of the Government, both providing only very limited rights. There are some protections in law from arbitrary detention, including the right to free legal aid and effective remedies to challenge detention, but people detained are often not made aware of their rights in practice.
There is a provision in law for children born on the territory to stateless parents or parents of unknown nationality to automatically acquire North Macedonian nationality, but this focuses on the status of the parents rather than the statelessness of the child, so does not prevent statelessness in all cases. There are safeguards in law to prevent statelessness among foundlings and children born to Macedonian nationals abroad. However, there remain significant barriers to universal birth registration, and recent efforts to address civil registration issues have not resolved the systemic problems that continue to create a risk of statelessness The country has received four Universal Periodic Review recommendations on this issue and there is strong evidence that Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities are disproportionately impacted.
Zoran Drangovski, Macedonian Young Lawyers Association