Update from June 2022:
A census was conducted in 2021 where stateless persons were specifically listed as a category. The official results were published in March 2022, according to which there are 584 people listed as stateless. However, there are some concerns with the methodology used by the Statistical Office. There was no stateless person recorded in the asylum procedure nor in detention in 2021.
There were no major legal or policy reforms in 2021 in North Macedonia.
New resources on North Macedonia now available include:
- 2021 Statelessness Index Survey
- Joint submission to the UN Human Rights Committee on North Macedonia (August 2021)
- Submission to inform the European Commission 2022 Enlargement Package including North Macedonia (April 2022)
- Submission to inform the European Commission 2021 Enlargement Package (April 2021)
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 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 North 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. North Macedonia has received four Universal Periodic Review recommendations on this issue and there is strong evidence that Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities are disproportionately impacted.
Information below by theme was last updated in March 2021.
Zoran Drangovski, Macedonian Young Lawyers Association