RECOMMENDATION 984 (1984)[1]

on the acquisition by refugees of the nationality of the receiving country


The Assembly,

1. Referring to its Recommendation 564 (1969), on the acquisition by refugees of the nationality of their country of residence ;

2. Concerned that the economic recession has brought about a resurgence of xenophobic and racist movements, the victims of which include refugees ;

3. Considering that refugees account for a small percentage of the total population of each country[2], and do not therefore place an excessive burden on the receiving country, even during a recession ;

4. Convinced that, for those who so wish, acquisition within a reasonable time of the nationality of the receiving country, without proof of the loss of the nationality of the country of origin being required, is one of the most crucial factors for the integration of refugees ;

5. Considering that arrangements facilitating the acquisition of nationality by refugees :

i. do not discriminate against other foreigners such as migrant workers, since the latter continue to enjoy legal protection as long as they are nationals of their countries of origin ;

ii. would be in conformity with Article 34[3] of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, which has been ratified by all the Council of Europe member states ;

6. Deploring the fact that, apart from a very few minor improvements, there have been no changes in national legislation to ensure that refugees can become naturalised within a reasonable period of time,

7. Recommends that the Committee of Ministers :

i. urgently consider making provision in its work programme for a study to be carried out with a view to liberalising legislation and practice in relation to the naturalisation of refugees ;

ii. in the meantime, urge the governments of member states to take steps to ensure that the existing regulations governing the naturalisation of refugees are flexibly applied (by reducing residence requirements, the length of the procedure and the cost of acquiring the nationality), so as to ensure them better legal protection ;

iii. urge the governments of member states to ensure that the under-age children of refugees acquire the nationality of the receiving country once the parents have acquired it.


[1]. Assembly debate on 11 May 1984 (8th Sitting) (see Doc. 5215, report of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography).

Text adopted by the Assembly on 11 May 1984 (8th Sitting).

[2]. In 1981, the percentage varied from a minimum of 0.0025% in Turkey to a maximum of 0.61% in Switzerland.

[3]. "The Contracting States shall as far as possible facilitate the assimilation and naturalisation of refugees. They shall in particular make every effort to expedite naturalisation proceedings and to reduce as far as possible the charges nd consts of such proceedings."