When humans become migrants

A blog containing Marie-Bénédicte Dembour's 30 episode podcast to support her book.

Episode 25: The stateless of Europe

All through the summer, the immediate needs of the unprecedented number of refugees arriving in Europe has held the media spotlight. We should not forget, however, that long term migrants can also face great difficulties. This episode draws attention to the plight of people who live in Europe without enjoying any status in law.


The law says their presence is not authorised. But the fact is that they are here. Granted no residence permit, they can neither work legally nor access social benefits. A great number of them cannot be returned to their country of origin. This can go on for years and for decades. They are de facto stateless. How can they live in dignity?

Strangely, the European Court of Human Rights has found that this situation does not raise any issue under the Convention. This is because of its past interpretations of Article 3, Article 8 and Article 6 ECHR.

In other words, by respecting the logic of its previous case law, the Court ends up reaching a conclusion that is entirely illogical from a human rights perspective …

To download a copy of this podcast, right-click the following link: HRM25 The stateless of Europe


bonger v the netherlandseuropean court of human rightsmaaouia v franceno residence permitstatelessness

Marie-Benedicte Dembour • September 15, 2015

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