Detained and nowhere to go: stateless persons at risk of arbitrary detention in the UK

ENS Statelessness Detention Report UKOn 10 November, The European Network on Statelessness published new research into the detention of stateless people in Britain which warns that the failure of UK immigration authorities to deal with stateless individuals often results in prolonged and pointless detention.

The report “Protecting stateless persons from arbitrary detention in the UK” uncovers that individuals without nationality are often detained for months and even years, without any real prospect of being removed or their lack of nationality resolved. Read the ENS blog on the topic.

The fear of being detained and left in indefinite detention while the authorities try to unsuccessfully remove them from the UK is something that all the individuals ENS interviewed said remains a constant anxiety. The UK is alone among EU countries in operating a detention regime without a defined time limit.

One research participant, Muhammed a stateless man from Western Sahara, spent a combined time of nearly four years in detention. His case was typical of those ENS interviewed. Despite this, stateless persons are seldom recognised as victims and are instead unfairly labelled as refusing to cooperate with the state.

 

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While the UK has a procedure in place to identify stateless persons and ensure they don’t discriminate against them, this report shows that there are considerable deficiencies that require immediate attention.

 

More information

Open Democracy: Delayed lives — the hidden misery of stateless people locked up in the UK (10 November 2016)

Reuters: UK urged to stop locking up stateless ‘ghost people’

ENS Blog: Facing a lifetime of uncertainty: Protecting stateless persons from arbitrary detention in the UK

The ENS will also publish a report on stateless people in detention in Bulgaria on November 16.