Switzerland is party to the 1954 Convention and to most relevant human rights instruments, but it has not acceded to other core statelessness treaties. There is an administrative procedure in place to determine statelessness, but it is not set in law nor in line with good practice. The protection granted under the procedure is often limited to a one-year renewable residence permit and the definition of a stateless person currently applied is not in line with the 1954 Convention. Nonetheless, claims under the procedure must be considered, decisions can be appealed, and basic minimum support is available to applicants. The Swiss Government accepted a recommendation under the Universal Periodic Review to formalise and ensure the procedure is fair and accessible, and agreed to bring the definition of a stateless person in line with the Convention.
Procedural safeguards are in place for those detained under immigration powers, and alternatives to detention exist in law and practice, but some people not identified as stateless may be at risk of arbitrary detention. Although there is no full safeguard in Swiss nationality law for otherwise stateless children born on the territory, there are routes to naturalisation for some children who would otherwise be stateless, and there are provisions to prevent statelessness in the case of foundlings, adopted children, and children born to Swiss nationals abroad. Birth registration should be possible even where parents are undocumented, and civil registry officials are prohibited from sharing information with immigration authorities. Provisions on deprivation of nationality are established in law and there is a safeguard to prevent statelessness in most cases, but not all.
Barbara von Rütte, humanrights.ch