Regional Commitments to Prevent Statelessness in Action
On 7-8 June, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Kazakhstan, UNHCR, UNICEF and ESCAP convened a regional meeting with Government and civil society representatives from Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan on “The Right to Legal Identity and Prevention of Statelessness in Central Asia”. States reaffirmed their partnership with UNHCR, UNICEF and ESCAP to ensure birth registration for prevention of childhood statelessness. Government Representatives expressed their intention to participate in the 2019 High Level Meeting on Statelessness in Geneva and to share achievements and, insofar as possible, present pledges to help end statelessness by 2024.
Over 100,000 people are known to be stateless in the five countries in Central Asia. The majority of them are ex-citizens of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) who have not yet acquired or confirmed citizenship of the newly independents States, following the USSR’s dissolution in 1991. Others became stateless due to gaps in nationality laws, international migration and mixed marriages.
Childhood statelessness, often caused by the lack of birth registration and other legal safeguards, is shared challenge observed across the Central Asia, affecting thousands of children. During the meeting, the representatives of the five Central Asian countries exchange positive developments made in their respective countries, and reflect on further measures that can be undertaken to close legislative and administrative gaps.