In Belarus, UNHCR works closely with the national partners on advocacy, legislation and assistance to stateless people
Accession to international treaties
Belarus is not a party to either the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons or to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
UNHCR welcomes the pledge of Belarus to accede to both conventions after completion of all internal procedures. This pledge was announced in October 2019 during the High-Level Segment on Statelessness of the 70th session of UNHCR Executive Committee.
Improvement of legislation
Although Belarusian legislation does not contain any references to the UN Statelessness Conventions, their main provisions are incorporated into the Law on Citizenship of the Republic of Belarus.
On 30 April 2016, amendments to the law came into force providing the right to Belarusian citizenship to the children born in Belarus from stateless persons with temporary residence permit in Belarus (before it was valid only for stateless persons with permanent residence).
UNHCR works to address the remaining gaps in legislation, including?
- acquisition of citizenship by birth to all categories of children born from stateless parents;
- reduction of the required term of permanent residence needed for citizenship application from 7 to 5 years;
- provisions for obligatory level of income for application for citizenship;
- situations when a person becomes stateless if rejected in application for Belarusian citizenship having renounced their previous one.
UNHCR provides stateless persons with assistance to pay for the state duties required for application for citizenship of Belarus or a permit for permanent residence on their way to naturalization.
Every year, together with the Refugee Counselling Service, UNHCR goes to the regions, including rural areas, and meets with stateless persons and their families in order to conduct a detailed assessment of their needs.
Through the Belarusian Red Cross Society and Refugee Counselling Service UNHCR provides financial and other types of assistance to individuals and families, and supports them through the process of collecting and submitting documents, processing fees and other administrative procedures to obtain citizenship.
UNCHR together with Refugee Counselling Service provides free of charge legal counselling to naturalization, regularization of legal status in Belarus, protection of the rights and interests of stateless people all over the country, including remote towns and villages
You can make a difference by manifesting your support to end statelessness