Five-Year Long Asylum Procedure Ends with Recognition of Statelessness

Today, the Directorate of Immigration recognized our client as a stateless person in need of international protection in Iceland. This decision comes after a string of rejections by the Icelandic authorities and two courting rulings, both in our client’s favor. This case is a prime example of why it is important for individuals who have been subject to flawed asylum procedures to have access to the courts. Although access to court is a fundamental human right, in reality, it is becoming increasingly difficult for failed applicants of international protection to bring their cases before Icelandic courts. They are usually not granted legal aid and are in most cases deported before their cases can be heard by the Icelandic courts.

Our client sought international protection in Iceland five years ago. Both the Directorate of Immigration and the Immigration Appeals Board concluded that he was a citizen of a particular country despite lack of evidence to support this conclusion and all whilst admitting there was significant doubt of his citizenship and nationality in that country. In addition to that, the government of Iceland saw no reason to seek confirmation from that country of our client’s nationality even though they had obtained his permission to do so at the beginning of the procedure.

Our client brought his case before the District Court of Reykjavík which invalidated the decision of the Directorate of Immigration. This court ruling was later upheld by Landsréttur, the Appeals Court following an appeal by the Icelandic state.