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A Study on Property Restitution

Open in new windowDr. Luis Terradas y Soler,
President of the Cambra de la Propietat Urbana de Barcelona
(Chamber of Urban Property of Barcelona), presented, on the occasion of the meeting of the Executive Committee of UIPI in his hometown Barcelona, a study on a painful matter, prepared by Rafael Arasa, deputy secretary of the Chamber of Urban Property of Barcelona.
The very important study contains the following parts:
The right to property
Concept, foundation, social function
Property, the centre of the economic and social system
Real Estate Law
Private property as an essential element in democracy and the Rule of Law
Legitimacy of requests for the privatisation of real estate in Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC)
Conceptual bases for directing the processes of privatisation of real estate
Instruments to guarantee a fair development of the privatisation processes of real estate in Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC)
Full effectiveness of exercising property rights and legal safety
Necessary instruments: The Cadastre, the Property Register and Notarisation of transfers.
Conclusions
Annexes
I.- Acknowledgement of the right to private property in international declarations of human rights
II.- Acknowledgement of the right to decent housing in international declarations of human rights
The International Union of Property Owners (UIPI) held a truly important event at Thessaloniki on the 8th May 2004, with the overwhelming attendance, which almost came as a surprise, of representatives from all the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, worried about the present and future of Real Estate Property in their respective countries. In effect, although the study was initially centred on the Balkan States, its interest has spread practically to all the countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
As a result of this meeting, the "Declaration of Thessaloniki" was drawn up with a suggestion to the Chamber of Urban Property of Barcelona, to develop this declaration and present it in Barcelona on the occasion of the Executive Committee meeting to be called in the final quarter of 2004.
In the last century, history includes an important convulsion in part of Europe which, for over half a century transmuted this right and its enjoyment, with important consequences in family, social and economic life.
The right to property is a natural right, inherent to human nature, quod natura omia animalia docuit. It is the fullness of the right that the Law grants over an object; it is the dominium which the Romans specified by saying jus utendi, fruendi et abutenidi.
It is clear that the pillars of the family, society and the economy on which our civilisation rests require respect for this right despite the limitations regulated by positive law in favour of the common good. But, in short, the essence of the right to property is maintained as the fundamental axis for the ordered development of civil, commercial and financial life.
Faced with the positivism, property as a Right has a differentiating feature: I am referring to Humanism, based on which all regime policy and limitations must be developed in order to make this Right suitable to the real life of each moment and each circumstance. The scholars and men of Greek and Latin letters gleaned these principles from the philosophy of the great Hellenic thinkers who sewed the seeds of their knowledge everywhere, a knowledge which was picked up by the Romans as their armies occupied the known world. And this is how the historical, cultural and political realities have been formed, the essence of this Europe which is moving towards its unity.
Life, Property and Freedom are foremost human values which must be respected and defended. It has been the job of our UIPI to defend property in its urban sphere; and it is in fulfilment of our statutory and vocational duties that we carry out our work and live out our anxieties, trying to promote the right to property as a full right and not just as an empty suit with no one or nothing inside.
The study, prepared by Rafael Arasa, deputy Secretary of the Chamber of Urban Property of Barcelona, points out that the regulation of the Cadastre, Property Register and the legal requirements for access to it, is essential as the only way for the privatisation of urban property to be made effective and to be able to play freely in the financial and capital markets, which is the only way of arousing its social interest, opposing property charges, an achievable, mortgageable, transferable and revaluable value.The privatisation of real estate in Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC)


Background

1. We shall begin to pose this question by specifying the premises which constitute our starting point. At the end of the 2nd World War, in what is the object of this study; diverse Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC), private property was abolished and the State became the absolute holder of this right. After 1989, those States have been gradually returning to the classical European regime, based on the acknowledgement of human rights, freedom, democracy, private property and the market economy.

2. It is necessary to give the citizen his authentic place in the socio-economic regime of the nation, after 60 or 70 years of the development of a regime diametrically opposed to the Western European model, overcoming the economic and mental convulsion that this lapse of time has caused.

3. The parameters within which the processes of privatisation of real estate have to be developed must be justice, equity and respect of rights.

4. At the Assembly of the UIPI held in Thesaloniki, Greece, on 8th May 2004, a Declaration was adopted for the restitution of real estate property in the Balkans.

5. This Declaration needs to develop concepts with the aim of going deeper and advancing in the processes of the acknowledgement, privatisation and adjudication of real estate property, especially of an urban nature, in Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC), affected by the socio-economic convulsions stemming from the 2nd World War and which are now returning to Europe?s historic conceptions.

6. From the premises mentioned above and starting from the basis that the right to private property is acknowledged in the most important international declarations of Human Rights, we shall analyse the right to private property, private property as the essential element of democracy and the Rule of Law, the legitimacy of the privatisation of real estate in Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC), the conceptual bases for the direction of the processes of privatisation of property and the instruments to guarantee a fair development of the aforementioned processes.

The right to property
Concept, foundation, social function

7. Property is understood as the right to enjoy and dispose of a good without any restrictions except those established by laws. This includes the real right of the widest scope and effectiveness, which was already recognised in Law 35 Book 4, of the Justinian Code, with the ius utendi et abutendi re sua, qautenus juris ratio patitur.
8. Ownership means the faculties to enjoy ?as the development of the value of the goods in use- and to dispose of ?without doubt the most expressive of sovereign ownership, which includes not just transferring (a paradigm of the acts of disposal), but also those others which influence the essence of the good, modifying it or reducing the use it can give: the imposition of a specific destination, alteration, charge, etc.-
9. Today the modalisation of the right to property is commonly acknowledged for its social function, which constitutes its limits, starting from a notion of ownership which does not coincide with the absolute, unlimited and omni-mode right of liberalism, but adapting it to a specific content imposed by the historical-social circumstances in force.
10. We must also state that if freedom is the most fundamental concept for human life, the first step to give it content is to complement it with property. Without doubt this is where the moral and legal justification of the right to property lies.

11. The existence of property is a condition of freedom.

Property, the centre of the economic and social system

12. Property is a central concept of civil law, understanding this as a fundamental or nuclear organisation of the human being. A concept which is developed mainly in the relationships of the person with the property, and, in general, with exercising their economic activity which serves as a reference point.

13. And as we are dealing with a central concept, it is not only circumscribed to exercising the economic activity of people, so we must also take into consideration, with regard to all kinds of patrimony relationships, not just the so-called legal-real ones, but also those personal and obligation relationships, as well as family ones and successions. This has full meaning because, as a concept, it occupies an eminent part, together with private autonomy, in the central nucleus of the whole system of private law, and also appears constantly projected over any kind of economic activity.

14. The right to property, being at the centre of the economic and social system, is the object of studies by other social sciences and is the place of confluence for the most diverse doctrinal tendencies, in all theories, opinions and ideologies which constitute the complex web of modern social life.

15. Also, given its dimension and importance, both private law and public law come together in the concept of property.

Real Estate Law

16. Real Estate Law is essentially the law which governs the way of constituting, modifying, transferring and cancelling the real legal relationships which have real estate, a property, as their object.

Private property as an essential element in democracy and the Rule of Law

17. The concept of the Rule of Law was coined by Hermann Heller, who gave it the following characteristics:

a. Law is produced as an expression of the sovereignty of the people through the representative organs;

b. There is a categorical separation of powers;

c. The Public Administration is indeclinably subject to the Law, and

d. The fundamental rights are proclaimed and guarantees are arbitrated to safeguard them.

18. On its part, the European Union is based on the principles of freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the Rule of Law. The Union will respect fundamental rights as they are guaranteed in the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, signed in Rome on 4th November 1950, and occupying a pre-eminent position among them is the right to private property.

19. The right to property is a vital link for democracy. Because ownership grants rights, as to the extent in which the wealth and property of a country are in the hands of the State, the government has power, while the citizens have little; consequently, if the right to private property does not exist, the state can commit anti-democratic abuses of power. Because the distribution of property also distributes power; if the state is the owner of all or almost all the property, or if it has the arbitrary faculty to appropriate it, it cancels out the citizens. Therefore the distribution of power is essential for an effective democracy.

Legitimacy of requests for the privatisation of real estate in Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC)

20. As we have already stated, the right to private property is acknowledged internationally as an essential and fundamental human right.

21. The European Union, which began to be constituted in Rome in 1957, and which has been successively enlarged in 1973, 1981, 1986, 1995 and the last accession of 10 new Member States on 1st May 2004, is based on the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms ?among which we find the right to property in a pre-eminent place -, as is guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights of 1950.

22. We must also mention that the Draft of the European Constitution (adopted by the European Convention of 13th June and 10th July 2003), includes the Right to Ownership as one of the Fundamental Rights of the Union. Also, in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the Union, the right to property ?together with other fundamental rights and freedoms - is acknowledged as an indivisible and universal value of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity, and therefore it is given the greatest presence in the Charter in order to reinforce its protection in accordance with the evolution of society, social progress and scientific and technological advances.
23. Consequently, Central and Eastern European countries, as they are integrated into the European Union or, where appropriate, intending integration, must acknowledge and defend the right to property as a fundamental right. So the requests and demands for the privatisation of real estate are fully founded in law and fully legitimated by international law.

24. Here we could also quote the declaration by the International Committee for Human Rights (2003), the loss of private property without fair or legal cause ?which on historic occasions has been carried out in a systematic way and on a large scale -, is a particular type of violation of human rights. The restitution of properties to their original owners does not just mean an amendment of this violation of human rights but it is also an important factor for social and economic stabilisation. Aware, however, of the difficulties this implies, depending on the historical circumstances and the time that has passed.

Conceptual bases for directing the processes of privatisation of real estate

25. The object of this work is not to study the different methods of privatising property in Central and Eastern European countries. Our objective at this time is centred on defining some conceptual bases for the direction of the processes of privatisation of property.

26. In this point we shall only mention that the most frequently used methods of privatisation are the following:

a. The restitution of property, that is, the restitution of nationalised property to its original owners, or to compensate them by means of stock deeds;

b. Auctioning state properties; or

c. The distribution of free vouchers, or at a low cost, among the citizens.

27. Faced with the complexity of the situations that exist (difficulty in finding the necessary financial resources, limitations in savings by the population, difficulties in financing through external capital in order to acquire goods, a logical lack of knowledge about the real estate market), it is necessary for the corresponding Laws on the Privatisation of Real Estate to be drawn up before beginning the privatisation processes which, based on justice and equity, will clarify in the first place property rights (incomplete or uncertain property rights) and which will establish claims of ownership from those people whose properties were nationalised. That is to say, the uncertainty about property rights must disappear. Once these obstacles have been removed, property rights will be more transparent and will allow transfers from the state to the citizens to be quick and provided with legal safety.

28. For the transfer of property from the state to the private sector a reliable system of property rights is needed. So that the transfer of nationalised property to the private sector is viable and fair, it is necessary for the foundations to be solid, and this can only be achieved by means of the consolidation of the structures, viability and stability, and not by trying to overcome a speed mark.

29. It is absolutely necessary that justice and equity are established as the governing principles in privatisation processes of real estate.

30. An effective system of property rights has to contain rules in order to guarantee property claims, property registration, capacity to establish and solve ownership claims and the possibility of acquiring a deed of ownership which has been lost, abandoned or adversely held. In order to institutionalise property rights, an impartial, comprehensive, stable and efficient body of contractual laws must be created.

31. An important requirement for achieving full privatisation is also directed towards the need to create or strengthen economic and social institutions which will facilitate market transactions. The financial institutions which make up the markets of capitals are also essential for the success of the privatisation. The markets of capitals help to transfer the property from the public sector to the private sector, and the development of the later relationships between private individuals.

Instruments to guarantee a fair development of de privatisation processes of real estate in Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC)

32. Having acknowledged the fundamental right to private property, without prejudice to the legitimacy of the requests for the restitution of real estate property, it is essential to establish some instruments which will guarantee a development of the privatisation processes in the principle of legality.

33. These instruments must protect the legitimate interests and rights of the citizens and must provide the necessary and transparent information in order to guarantee the satisfactory outcome of the processes and the later environment of the same, by providing legal safety and allowing the important incardination into the market economy.

34. In order to achieve all of this, it is necessary for three essential instruments or institutions to be developed: the Cadastre, the Register and the function of the Notarisation of the transfers (and other acts of disposition and charge) of real estate, with the aim of guaranteeing the full effectiveness of the right to property and legal safety of the citizens.


Full effectiveness of exercising property rights and legal safety

35. For the full effectiveness of exercising the right to property, two fundamental requirements are necessary: on the one hand, the legal safety of real estate transactions ?including both those stemming from the restitution or privatisation processes, as well as those after these processes -; and on the other hand, the legal safety of the registration of these transfers.

36. Without the existence of these two fundamental requirements ?the legal act of transfer and its later registration entry -, private property law can only be a Utopia.

Necessary instruments: The Cadastre, the Property Register and Notarisation of transfers.

37. The Cadastre, understood as the graphic statistic of the property and wealth of the real estate, by which we obtain real knowledge of the country?s territory, for the different civil, fiscal, economic and administrative effects, this is a key piece in the privatisation processes and in building up a reliable Property Register system which will guarantee the right to real estate property within a market economy environment.

38. The Cadastre ?together with the Property Register -, is a key element in the priority objective of guaranteeing a real estate market.
The Cadastre must have the basic objective of the plot, understood as a physical area on which a specific property right is located and must relate the material element (territory) with the legal element (inherent rights in the same).

39. The Cadastre as a territorial information system must exist in order to guarantee the principles of equality, safety and justice for all the citizens. And it has to be understood as being in the public interest, placed at the disposal of all the citizens in equality of conditions, in any case preventing exclusive or excluding uses of the information it contains.

40. The Property Register, understood as a public office where the function of declaring the ownership of the property rights and other real rights over real estate property before anyone ?erga omnes- is exercised, and which is reflected from a double reality: one material, the property or real estate over which the rights are held; and another legal, the existence of the aforementioned rights. It is an essential instrument for the normal development of the Rule of Law, as it protects property and facilitates the knowledge of its social restrictions.

41. The Property Register is an institution to which juridical organisation attributes the essential function, in all modern States, of guaranteeing the protection of the rights inscribed and, with this, of the legal-real estate traffic. Consequently, an objective of the Property Register is the safety of the legal traffic about real estate.

42. The Property Register has been created fundamentally for the protection of the legality of acts and contracts relating to the ownership and other real rights over real estate property. Legal safety is not just an objective, but also a requirement so that the other objectives can be achieved, in particular economic and social progress. Legal safety requires the certainty in the regulation of the right and demands its publicity.

43. The social importance of the Property Register is patently reflected in the 14th International Congress of Register Law, Moscow, 2003, where the function of the register as an essential element for the protection and guarantee of property rights was debated, and therefore the Register constitutes a guarantee of freedom.

44. Notarisation must be understood as the legitimate authority attributed to certain civil servants ?notaries, judicial secretaries...-, so that the content of documents drawn up is taken as true, unless there is proof to the contrary.

45. The promotion of the pacific exercising of the right to property ?and other real rights ? over real estate, must be protected by the notarisation of granting contracts. Only in this way will the legal traffic and investments be facilitated. The implantation of a real estate market in a market economy environment must be backed up by contracting systems where the property rights are duly guaranteed.

46. Real estate transactions have to be managed in conditions of legal safety. Private investment in the real estate area is very high; the credits granted annually are enormous, and it is impossible to imagine at this time how the economy in Western Europe could work without these transactions. All this private financial activity is possible because there is a reliable system of contracts, based on notarisation, and a later reliable system for inscribing or registering property, based on a legislation which guarantees the maximum protection to private investors.

Conclusions

47. Having analysed the preceding background, we must conclude that the requests and demands for the privatisation of property which have arisen in different Central and Eastern European countries are legitimate and founded in international law, and meet the basic principles of the European Union; freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and the fundamental freedoms and the Rule of Law.

48. For all of these reasons, the World Bank and institutions of the European Union, either through the Phare Programme, or through any other financial and technical cooperation instruments applicable to the CEEC sector should be entreated to continue to grant the necessary economic aid to strengthen and create the essential structures (cadastre, register, notarisation, economic and social system) suitable to make the legal safety of real estate transactions and the registral legal safety of the same possible, and thus achieve the full effectiveness of exercising the right to property.

Barcelona, 29th October 2004.



* * *


ANNEXES


I.- ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE RIGHT TO PRIVATE PROPERTY IN INTERNATIONAL DECLARATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS

The right to private property is acknowledged in the most important international declarations of Human Rights:

1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted and proclaimed by the 183rd Assembly General of the UN, 10th December 1948). Article 17 acknowledges the right to property: 1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. 2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

2. American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. (9th International American Conference, Bogot?, Colombia, 1948): Article 23: Every person has a right to own such private property as meets the essential needs of decent living and helps to maintain the dignity of the individual and of the home.

3. European Convention for Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Rome, 4th November 1950, Additional Protocol Number 1 (18th May 1954): Article 1: Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law. The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.

4. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (adopted by the Assembly General of the United Nations, 21st December 1965): Article 5: States Parties undertake to guarantee: The right to own property alone as well as in association with others.

5. Pact of San Jos? de Costa Rica (American Convention on Human Rights, 7-22 November 1969) Article 21: Everyone has the right to the use and enjoyment of his property. The law may subordinate such use and enjoyment to the interest of society. No one shall be deprived of his property except upon payment of just compensation, for reasons of public utility or social interest, and in the cases and according to the forms established by law. (?)

6. Joint Declaration by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on Fundamental Rights (5th April 1977): Article 1: The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission stress the prime importance they attach to the protection of fundamental rights, as derived in particular from the constitutions of the Member States and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

7. African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (Banjul Charter): (approved by the 18th Assembly of the Organisation of African Unity, Nairobi, Kenya, 27th July 1981). Article 14: The right to property shall be guaranteed. It may only be encroached upon in the interest of public need or in the general interest of the community and in accordance with the provisions of appropriate laws.

8. Declaration of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (approved by Resolution of the European Parliament, 16th May 1989): Article 9: The right to property is guaranteed. No one shall be deprived of their property, unless considered necessary in the public interest, and if this were the case in the conditions envisaged by law and by means of a fair compensation.

9. Treaty of the European Union (Rome, 25th March 1957, consolidated version: Maastricht, 7th February 1992; Amsterdam, 2nd October 1997 and Nice, 26th February 2001): Article 6.1: The union is based on principles of freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States. [Among which the right to property]. Article 6.2: the Union will respect fundamental rights in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights for the protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms as they result from the common constitutional traditions of the Member States as general principles of Community Law.

10. Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (adopted by the European Convention, 13th June and 10th July 2003): Article II. 17.1: Right to property. Everyone has the right to own, use, dispose of and bequeath his or her lawfully acquired possessions. No one may be deprived of his or her possessions, except in the public interest and in the cases and under the conditions provided for by law, subject to fair compensation being paid in good time for their loss. The use of property may be regulated by law insofar as is necessary for the general interest.

II.- ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE RIGHT TO DECENT HOUSING IN INTERNATIONAL DECLARATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS

The right to a decent home, which is a necessary condition for exercising other personal rights such as rights to health care, personal and family intimacy, marriage and forming a family and the freedom of residence and free circulation of people, is also acknowledged in the main international declarations of Human Rights. As follows we refer to a collection of the main international declarations

1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948): Article 25.1: Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services...

2. American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (1948): Article 11: Every person has the right to the preservation of his health through sanitary and social measures relating to food, clothing, housing and medical care, to the extent permitted by public and community resources.

3. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Article 11: The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.

4. European Social Charter (Turin, 18th October 1961): Article 16: With a view to ensuring the necessary conditions for the full development of the family, which is a fundamental unit of society, the Contracting Parties undertake to promote the economic, legal and social protection of family life by such means as social and family benefits, fiscal arrangements, provision of family housing.

5. Convention 117 of the General Conference of the ILO on Social Policy (Geneva, 22nd June 1962, XLVI meeting, came into force 23rd April 1964): Considering 5: that all possible steps should be taken by appropriate international, regional and national measures to promote improvement in such fields as [...] housing [?]. Article 5.2: In ascertaining the minimum standards of living, account shall be taken so such essential family needs of the workers as food and its nutritive value, housing, clothing, medical care and education.

6. Declaration of the United Nations on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, proclaimed by the Assembly General of the United nations in its resolution 1904 (XVIII), of 20th November 1963: Article 3.1: Particular efforts shall be made to prevent discrimination based on race, colour or ethnic origin, especially in the fields of [...] housing.

7. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, adopted on 21st December 1965 by the Assembly General of the United Nations: Article 5-e, point 3: States Parties undertake particularly to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights: (...) Economic, social and cultural rights, in particular: (...) The right to housing.

8. Declaration on Social Progress and Development, proclaimed by the Assembly General of the United Nations in its Resolution 2542 (XXIV), of 11th December 1969: Article 10, f): Social progress and development shall aim at the continuous raising of the material and spiritual standards of living of all members of society, with respect for and in compliance with human rights and fundamental freedoms, through the attainment of the following main goals: f) The provision for all, particularly persons in low income groups and large families, of adequate housing and community services.

9. Declaration of Istanbul on Human Settlements, adopted by the Conference of the United Nations, Istanbul, 14th June 1996. Habitat Programme II: Commitment 39: We reaffirm our commitment to the full and progressive realization of the right to adequate housing, as provided for in international instruments. In this context, we recognize an obligation by Governments to enable people to obtain shelter and to protect and improve dwellings and neighbourhoods. We commit ourselves to the goal of improving living and working conditions on an equitable and sustainable basis, so that everyone will have adequate shelter that is healthy, safe, secure, accessible and affordable and that includes basic services, facilities and amenities, and will enjoy freedom from discrimination in housing and legal security of tenure. We shall implement and promote this objective in a manner fully consistent with human rights standards.


Also, we must mention that, even in extreme situations ?refugees and stateless persons- the right to decent housing is acknowledged:
1. Convention on the Status of Refugees, 28th July 1951 (came into force 22nd April 1954): Article 21: As regards housing, the Contracting States, in so far as the matter is regulated by laws or regulations or is subject to the control of public authorities, shall accord to refugees lawfully staying in their territory treatment as favourable as possible and, in any event, not less favourable than that accorded to aliens generally in the same circumstances.

2. Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons, adopted on 28th September 1954 by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries, called by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, in its resolution 526 (XVII), 26th April: Article 21: As regards housing, the Contracting States, in so far as the matter is regulated by laws or regulations or is subject to the control of public authorities, shall accord to stateless persons lawfully staying in their territory treatment as favourable as possible and, in any event, not less favourable than that accorded to aliens generally in the same circumstances.



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