On the Protection of Stateless Persons in Germany

in Tilburg Law Review
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This article analyses the legal framework for the protection of stateless persons in Germany. In particular, it explains the definition of a stateless person under German law, the availability of protection outside the context of asylum procedures, access to travel documents and naturalization. This work identifies the following major problems: gaps in the applicable laws, differences of treatment and implementation due to the decentralized system of adjudication, application of readmission agreements to stateless persons, restrictive naturalization requirements. As a consequence, stateless persons’ chances of obtaining protection and a long-term solution are reduced. It is argued that the adoption of specific determination procedures and recognition of stateless status as a protection ground at the Federal level are essential safeguards in this context and the German government should take additional steps in this regard.

On the Protection of Stateless Persons in Germany

in Tilburg Law Review




This Convention was ratified in 1976. The aim of this Convention is to provide that a child whose mother has the nationality of a contracting State shall acquire her nationality if he would otherwise be stateless. Kay Hailbronner Günter Brenner Hans-Georg Maaßen Staatsangehörigkeitsrecht (5th edn CH Beck 2010) I.G.10.


BGBl II 1977597.


StaatenlMindÜbkAG (BGBl I 19771101) das durch Artikel 3 § 4 des Gesetzes vom 15.07.1999 (BGBl I 1999 1618) geändert worden ist (Law on the Reduction of Statelessness – Law on Implementation (BGBl I 1977 1101) lastly amended by art 3 §4 of the Law on 15.07.1999 BGBl I 1999 1618 1622).


BGBl 1952 II 685 and BGBl 2002II 1054.


BGBl II 2004578.


BGBl II 19731533-1534.


BGBl II 1992121.


BVerwG 12.02.1985 NVwZ 1985589; BVerwG 15.10.1985 NVwZ 1986 759.


BVerwG 16.07.1996 InfAusIR 19975860. This is further discussed in section 5 of this Article.


BVerwG 16.07.1996 InfAuslR 199758-60. This decision states that (1) statelessness itself is not affected by the way it came into existence (so the cause of a person’s statelessness is irrelevant for the general application of the Convention); (2) a stateless person has no obligation to eliminate his statelessness; (3) the cause of a person’s statelessness is not important for an entitlement based on the first sentence of Art. 28. However different principles apply if the travel document is claimed under the second sentence of Article 28 as that is a discretionary clause and the authorities can take the causes of a persons’ statelessness into account when making their decision.


VG Berlin 9.05.1988 InfAuslR 1988225; OVG Berlin 18.04.1991 InfAuslR 1991 228. See also BVerwG 28.09.1993 InfAuslR 1994 35; BVerwG 29.09.1995 InfAuslR 1996 19; BVerwG Urteil v 19.10.2011 - 5 C 28.10; BVerwG 16.07.1996 DVBl 1997 177.


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