How laws on citizenship can protect or deter

A recent blog post from the European Network on Statelessness highlights some of the challenges in Poland’s current legal framework - including a lack of a uniform approach to identifying stateless persons, a lack of awareness among people who may be stateless, and even laws that lead people to choose “invisibility”. The post says, in part:

Even though Poland admittedly took steps aimed at reducing statelessness by adopting a new law on citizenship in 2012, a formal procedure to identify stateless persons has not yet been introduced. This results in protection gaps and exposes stateless persons to arbitrary detention. Paradoxically, it is the prospect of imminent detention that seems to be the main factor deterring stateless persons from coming forward and approaching state authorities to initiate legal proceedings to regularise their status. With the threat of detention, many prefer to live in a legal limbo as “invisibles”, remaining on the margins of society, without any legal guarantees and access to enjoyment of the most basic of rights.

Legal empowerment is about people understanding and using the law - but sometimes the law itself is an obstacle.

How have the laws on citizenship in your country encouraged people to make use of available systems or procedures? Or, how do you see laws similar to those in Poland deterring people from “making use of the law” to try to acquire a legal status and related protections? @stellaobita @lore @zena @mustafa_mahmoud @Malasen_Hamida @urdu @Platong

4 Likes