8 February, 2023
On February 8, the Department of Administrative Cases of the Senate set aside the judgment of the Administrative Regional Court, which satisfied the applicant's application and recognized that he is entitled to the status of a stateless person. While examining the cassation complaint of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, the Senate recognized that the Regional Court has not comprehensively, completely and objectively examined all the evidence in the case.
In the case under consideration, the court is addressed by a foreigner, who requests Latvia to grant him the status of a stateless person. The person does not have any document to prove his identity. There is only the person's own story about his origin and his life. The Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs has refused to grant him the status of a stateless person because the applicant's identity is unknown. Thus, the institution cannot verify whether the applicant does not have or has not been granted the citizenship of any country.
In the judgment, the Senate states that the court needs to objectively ascertain the identity data of the applicant in order to be able to conclude that the applicant does not have or has not been granted the citizenship of any country. The applicant is obliged to be truthful, to the extent possible, to provide complete information about himself, to provide all sensible possible evidence. The adjudicating authority must also obtain all reasonably possible evidence to objectively determine the applicant's status.
The Senate found that the judgment did not indicate whether or how the applicant had acted to find out his identity details or the status under which he resided in Nepal and India, given that the court had found that a person with the indicated name had attended a school in Nepal, and that such a school actually exists, and in India the applicant was issued an identification card.
In the judgment, the Senate states that obtaining a personal identification document or evidence confirming personal identification data is primarily up to the person himself and in his interests, so that he can apply for the status of a stateless person and accordingly exercise the rights guaranteed to a stateless person by the United Nations Convention. Only a person who has had contact with a country, including as an adult, knows best where to obtain the information about himself and his legal status.
Moreover, the Senate recognized as reasonable the Office's argument that clarifying a person's identity is also a matter of national security, because according to the Convention, a stateless person enjoys both the right to obtain travel documents to travel to another country and the right to naturalize, which further grants the person the same rights as citizens of the country of naturalization.
Judgment of the Senate, case No SKA-103/2023 (A420236918)
Information prepared by Baiba Kataja, the Press Secretary of the Supreme Court
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