Europe’s Stateless Refugees: Navigating the Pre or Post National Space of Indefinite Statelessness in Sweden And Denmark.
||2016-10-01 -- 2018-10-01
||Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare
||Faculty of Culture and Society, Global Political Studies
The research project investigates a largely overlooked group of refugees in Europe, those who are stateless. To be stateless is to not be considered as a citizen by any state. While a refugee faces a temporary lack of protection from their State, the stateless person permanently lacks this protection. While not all refugees are stateless, a considerable number globally are. With the majority of refugees entering Europe originating from states with significant stateless populations, discriminatory nationality laws or statelessness which has arisen from state succession, European states, as well as regional and international organisations are having to increasingly deal with the poorly understood multifaceted relationship between statelessness and forced migration.
The problem is that in law and policy stateless refugees are treated as refugees. Their statelessness is seen as secondary, or inconsequential, to their need for international protection as refugees, if it is known or considered at all. It is their status as refugees that provides them with rights, which, as stateless persons, they would not receive based solely on their statelessness, due to the lack of mechanisms to identify their statelessness and many European states not granting a ‘stateless status’. At the same time, the lack of legal avenues, or practical problems stateless refugees face in resolving their statelessness, means that these refugees often remain stateless indefinitely. Due to their inability to resolve their statelessness, these stateless refugees occupy and navigate a pre-or post-national space where their rights are detached from citizenship of a nation-state. The introduction of temporary measures in some European states, in the wake of the refugee ‘crisis’, has further restricted the rights afforded to stateless refugees and increased barriers for them in resolving their statelessness. This adds a new level of restricted pre or post national rights for some stateless refugees.
The aim of the research is to deconstruct the current analytical approaches regarding the statelessness or refugees. This will involve an analysis of UN Refugee Agency and European Union (EU) policy on stateless refugees. A comparative analysis, of how the legal and policy frameworks related to identifying statelessness in the asylum system, or addressing it following acceptance of a refugee, contribute to this situation of indefinite statelessness for stateless refugees in Sweden and Denmark will also be undertaken. Finally, by exploring how refugees who are indefinitely stateless navigate this pre or post national space, the research will ground these international, regional and national laws and policies in the lived experiences of those whom it impacts, as well as allowing for a reflection on post nationalism itself.