On 11 May 2022, the Provincial Court of Gipuzkoa recognized in a judgment (SAPr Guipuzcoa 341/2022, 2nd Section, 11 May 2022) the Spanish nationality of a baby born on a dinghy in the sea which arrived to the Spanish coast and acknowledged that her fundamental rights had been violated due to the lack of nationality.

The case concerns a child that was born on a boat that was on the way to the Spanish coast. After arriving in Spain by sea, the mother, of Cameroonian nationality, tried to obtain the nationality from Cameroon and Morocco for her daughter, unsuccessfully in both cases. As a consequence of the lack of nationality, the child had restricted access to public municipal services and could not benefit from certain social benefits.

Expressly taking into account the best interest of the children, the domestic court used an extensive interpretation of the Spanish Civil Code (Article 17.1) and established the Spanish nationality of origin for the child. In the ruling, it is admitted that the mother made genuine efforts to provide her daughter with other nationalities but failed to do so. The Court furthermore acknowledged that this lack of recognition of nationality resulted in a situation of inequality with other minors and restricted her access to basic and fundamental rights.

For these reasons and to avoid the negative consequences that the limbo of statelessness would create for the minor, the Provincial Court of Gipuzkoa decided to recognize the Spanish nationality of the child.