On 26 March 2020, a joyful event happened in the family of 19-year-old Nina: she gave birth to her first child, son Radomir. The happiness of young parents was tampered by only one circumstance: Nina could not register the birth of her child, because she did not have valid identity […]
On 26 March 2020, a joyful event happened in the family of 19-year-old Nina: she gave birth to her first child, son Radomir. The happiness of young parents was tampered by only one circumstance: Nina could not register the birth of her child, because she did not have valid identity documents.
Nina’s parents were citizens of the Russian Federation, but Nina was born in Kazakhstan, in the village located in the Kostanay region. Before Nina was born, her mother lost her passport and could not restore it, so she could not document Nina. The girl was left without a birth certificate, and subsequently – without an identity card.
Now that Nina has become a mother, she fully understands all the difficulties associated with the absence of documents. During quarantine, she could not register the child with the state institution (PSC) and the Civil Registration Office – as they operated in a limited mode. Nina also could not use e-government services because she had no documents.
Nina reached out to the Kostanay office of the UNHCR NGO partner “Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law”. The Bureau’s lawyer helped Nina collect documents and contact the migration services.
“I actually believed that my situation was hopeless. But now I have seen for myself: there are no hopeless situations, you just need to meet the right people meet who are willing to help.”
The solution to Nina’s problem took a quick turn thanks to the amendments to the Family and Marriage Code made in November 2019. According to these amendments, all children born in the country have the right to birth registration and birth certificates, regardless of their parents’ legal status.
Thus, on 27 May 2020, Radomir Khavlagorov, Nina’s son, received the first identity document in his life and can now realize a wide range of his fundamental rights as a citizen of Kazakhstan.
“Surprisingly, my child was documented before me. But now I am sure that my citizenship issue will be also resolved in the very near future.”
Today, millions of people around the world are not citizens or nationals of any country. They cannot obtain an education, seek medical care in a hospital, they do not have the opportunity to get a job, acquire personal housing, marry in their country of residence, and move freely. One-third of all stateless persons are children. Restrictions are imposed on them too: parents cannot send them to school, get treatment in case of illness. And as a result, all people who do not have the status of a citizen remain without any hope for a bright future.
In 2014, UNHCR launched a ten-year #IBelong campaign to eradicate statelessness worldwide. Since its launch, UNHCR partners have identified more than 5,000 stateless persons, and many of them are children, who lacked a birth certificate because their parents did not have a document.