Law of Ukraine

“On Ukraine’s Accession to the Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons”

Date of entry into force:
February 25, 2013

The Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons (hereinafter referred to as “Convention”) was signed on September 28, 1954 in New York.

The Law envisages Ukraine’s accession to the Convention.

According to Article 1 of the Convention, the term “stateless person” means a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law. The Convention shall not apply:
  • to persons who are at present receiving from organs or agencies of the United Nations other than the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees protection or assistance so long as they are receiving such protection or assistance;
  • to persons who are recognized by the competent authorities of the country in which they have taken residence as having the rights and obligations which are attached to the possession of the nationality of that country;
  • to persons with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that: 1) they have committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, as defined in the international instruments drawn up to make provisions in respect of such crimes; 2) they have committed a serious non-political crime outside the country of their residence prior to their admission to that country; 3) they have been guilty of acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Every stateless person has duties to the country in which he finds himself, which require in particular that he conform to its laws and regulations as well as to measures taken for the maintenance of public order (Article 2 of the Convention).

Article 4 of the Convention envisages that the Contracting States shall accord to stateless persons within their territories treatment at least as favorable as that accorded to their nationals with respect to freedom to practice their religion and freedom as regards the religious education of their children.

Nothing in the Convention shall be deemed to impair any rights and benefits granted by a Contracting State to stateless persons apart from the Convention (Article 5 of the Convention).

Exemption from reciprocity is envisaged by Article 7 of the Convention.

With regard to exceptional measures which may be taken against the person, property or interests of nationals or former nationals of a foreign State, the Contracting States shall not apply such measures to a stateless person solely on account of his having previously possessed the nationality of the foreign State in question (Article 8 of the Convention).

According to Article 10 of the Convention, where a stateless person has been forcibly displaced during the Second World War and removed to the territory of a Contracting State, and is resident there, the period of such enforced sojourn shall be considered to have been lawful residence within that territory. Where a stateless person has been forcibly displaced during the Second World War from the territory of a Contracting State and has, prior to the date of entry into force of the Convention, returned there for the purpose of taking up residence, the period of residence before and after such enforced displacement shall be regarded as one uninterrupted period for any purposes for which uninterrupted residence is required.

The juridical status of a stateless person is determined by Chapter II of the Convention. Article 12 of the Convention establishes that the personal status of a stateless person shall be governed by the law of the country of his domicile or, if he has no domicile, by the law of the country of his residence. Rights previously acquired by a stateless person and dependent on personal status, more particularly rights attaching to marriage, shall be respected by a Contracting State, subject to compliance, if this be necessary, with the formalities required by the law of that State, provided that the right in question is one which would have been recognized by the law of that State had he not become stateless. Articles 13 and 14 of the Convention regulate the issues of acquiring movable and immovable property and other rights pertaining thereto, leases and other contracts relating to movable and immovable property, and protection of artistic and industrial property. A stateless person shall have free access to the Courts of Law on the territory of all Contracting States. A stateless person shall enjoy in the Contracting State in which he has his habitual residence the same treatment as a national in matters pertaining to access to the Courts, including legal assistance and exemption from cautio judicatum solvi (Article 16 of the Convention).

Chapter III of the Convention is dedicated to gainful employment of a stateless person:
  • wage-earning employment (Article 17 of the Convention);
  • self-employment (Article 18 of the Convention);
  • liberal professions (Article 19 of the Convention).

Welfare of stateless persons is provided for by Chapter IV of the Convention, which regulates the following issues:
  • rationing;
  • housing;
  • public education;
  • public relief.

According to Article 24 of the Convention, the Contracting States shall accord to stateless persons lawfully staying in their territory the same treatment as is accorded to nationals in respect of the following matters:
  • in so far as such matters are governed by laws or regulations or are subject to the control of administrative authorities: remuneration, including family allowances where these form part of remuneration, hours of work, overtime arrangements, holidays with pay, restrictions on home work, minimum age of employment, apprenticeship and training, women’s work and the work of young persons, and the enjoyment of the benefits of collective bargaining;
  • social security (legal provisions in respect of employment, injury, occupational diseases, maternity, sickness, disability, old age, death, unemployment, family responsibilities and any other contingency which, according to national laws or regulations, is covered by a social security scheme), subject to the following limitations: 1) there may be appropriate arrangements for the maintenance of acquired rights and rights in course of acquisition; 2) national laws or regulations of the country of residence may prescribe special arrangements concerning benefits or portions of benefits which are payable wholly out of public funds, and concerning allowances paid to persons who do not fulfil the contribution conditions prescribed for the award of a normal pension.

When the exercise of a right by a stateless person would normally require the assistance of authorities of a foreign country to whom he cannot have recourse, the Contracting State in whose territory he is residing shall arrange that such assistance be afforded to him by their own authorities (Article 25 of the Convention).

According to Article 26 of the Convention, each Contracting State shall accord to stateless persons lawfully in its territory the right to choose their place of residence and to move freely within its territory, subject to any regulations applicable to aliens generally in the same circumstances.

The Contracting States shall issue identity papers to any stateless person in their territory who does not possess a valid travel document (Article 27 of the Convention).

Article 28 of the Convention provides that the Contracting States shall issue to stateless persons lawfully staying in their territory travel documents for the purpose of travel outside their territory, unless compelling reasons of national security or public order.

The Contracting States shall not impose upon stateless persons duties, charges or taxes, of any description whatsoever, other or higher than those which are or may be levied on their nationals in similar situations. The above provision shall not prevent the application to stateless persons of the laws and regulations concerning charges in respect of the issue to aliens of administrative documents including identity papers (Article 29 of the Convention).

According to Article 30 of the Convention, a Contracting State shall, in conformity with its laws and regulations, permit stateless persons to transfer assets which they have brought into its territory, to another country where they have been admitted for the purposes of resettlement. A Contracting State shall give sympathetic consideration to the application of stateless persons for permission to transfer assets wherever they may be and which are necessary for their resettlement in another country to which they have been admitted.

The Contracting States shall not expel a stateless person lawfully in their territory save on grounds of national security or public order. The expulsion of such a stateless person shall be only in pursuance of a decision reached in accordance with due process of law. Except where compelling reasons of national security otherwise require, the stateless person shall be allowed to submit evidence to clear himself, and to appeal to and be represented for the purpose before competent authority or a person or persons specially designated by the competent authority. The Contracting States shall allow such a stateless person a reasonable period within which to seek legal admission into another country. The Contracting States reserve the right to apply during that period such internal measures as they may deem necessary (Article 31 of the Convention).

According to Article 32 of the Convention, the Contracting States shall as far as possible facilitate the assimilation and naturalization of stateless persons. They shall in particular make every effort to expedite naturalization proceedings and to reduce as far as possible the charges and costs of such proceedings.
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