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Persons of Palestinian origin face difficulties in enforcing Article 10 of the Code of Belgian Nationality (hereafter “CBN”) as regards their children born in Belgium. The main arguments put forward by the courts and civil registrars are based on the issue of whether a “Palestinian nationality” and “Palestinian nationals” actually exist within the meaning of Article 1, §1 of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.

This NANSEN Note presents and analyses the arguments and sources that may be useful to lawyers or legal services assisting parents of children of Palestinian origin in disputes relating to Article 10 of the CBN.

Certain elements of the definition of statelessness are examined in depth, and then applied specifically to people of Palestinian origin. These include the existence of Palestinian nationality legislation, the existence of a competent nationality authority, and the validity of certain civil status documents as proof of Palestinian nationality.

Central to this analysis is the importance of adopting a proportionate approach that respects fundamental rights in all decisions taken under Article 10 of the CBN, and for all the authorities involved. Authorities must pay particular attention to the best interests of every child concerned. They must consider their right to be registered at birth and their right to acquire a nationality, while taking into account the impact that statelessness could have on these children. They are also obliged to carry out a proportionality assessment in accordance with the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Read the note in French here and in English here