Sudita Keita (Somalia) v Hungary
ECtHR rules on state's positive obligation to provide an effective and accessible procedure to regularise the status of a stateless person in Hungary
According to the Court's press release,
The applicant, Michael Sudita Keita, is a stateless person (of Somali and Nigerian descent) who was born in 1985 and lives in Budapest. The case concerned the difficulties in regularising his legal situation in Hungary over a period of 15 years. Mr Sudita Keita arrived in Hungary in 2002, submitting a request for recognition as a refugee. The immigration authorities rejected it the same year. He has continued to live in the country without any legal status, apart from one period from 2006 to 2008 when he was granted a humanitarian residence permit as an exile because he could not be returned to Somalia while the civil war was ongoing and the Nigerian embassy in Budapest had refused to recognise him as one of its citizens. The authorities reviewed his exile status in 2008 and ordered his deportation in 2009, but it was not enforced. Ultimately, in 2017, the Hungarian courts recognised him as a stateless person. His request had at first been refused because he did not meet the requirement under the relevant domestic law of “lawful stay in the country”. That requirement was, however, found unconstitutional in 2015. He submits that he has been living with his Hungarian girlfriend since 2009 and completed a heavymachinery operator training course in 2010. Relying in particular on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights, Mr Sudita Keita complained about the authorities’ protracted reluctance to regularise his situation, alleging that it had had adverse repercussions on his access to healthcare and employment and his right to marry.
Conlusion: violation of article 8. Just satisfaction: 8,000 euros (EUR) for non-pecuniary damage and EUR 4,000 for costs and expenses.
European Court of Human Rights Database HUDOC
EHCR Press release
Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights [ECHR], Sudita Keita (Somalia) v Hungary, Application no. 42321/15, ECLI:CE:ECHR:2020:0512JUD004232115, 12 May 2020. Link redirects to the English summary in the EASO Case Law Database.