Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Central Asian states’ membership of the United Nations, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, commends their progress towards eradicating statelessness. In 2021, over 46,000 stateless persons acquired a nationality in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan.
“The UN Refugee Agency appreciates the tremendous efforts made by the Governments, authorities, civil society, and people of Central Asia in addressing problems of statelessness. This constitutes tangible progress towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – leaving no one behind. The prevention of statelessness and the protection of stateless persons greatly contribute to international peace, security, development, and the prevention of forced displacement,” said Mr. Hans Friedrich Schodder, UNHCR Representative for Central Asia.
In 2021, Uzbekistan, the country with the largest known statelessness population in Central Asia, reduced statelessness almost by half, granting or confirming citizenship to 33,000 out of 70,000 registered stateless persons. This became possible thanks to provisions of the new Citizenship Law adopted in 2020, and further amendments to it, enacted in 2021.
Turkmenistan enacted Statelessness Determination Procedures (SDPs) which allow stateless persons to obtain legal status and thus access to basic human rights. Through enaction of SDPs Turkmenistan fulfilled one of the pledges formulated at the High-Level Segment on Statelessness in 2019.
As a result of activities implemented by Tajikistan in 2021 to reduce statelessness, over 4,000 persons received identity documents. Additionally, almost 4,000 stateless persons were identified to be provided with legal assistance.
Since the autumn of 2020, Kazakhstan has been running a national statelessness identification campaign aimed at mapping and resolving cases of statelessness. By end 2021, as a result of this campaign, close to 7,300 persons with undetermined nationality were identified, of whom more than 4,100 were assisted to confirm the nationality of Kazakhstan, while close to 2,000 were documented as de jure stateless.
UNHCR continues supporting Government of Kyrgyzstan efforts to implement the four pledges it contributed to the 2019 High-Level Segment, consolidating the success of the Kyrgyz Republic in resolving all known cases of statelessness in 2019.
The UN Refugee Agency also supports the considerations of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to join Turkmenistan and a growing number of states worldwide in becoming parties to both Statelessness Conventions.
Since 2014, when the #IBelong campaign to eradicate statelessness globally by 2024 was launched, more than 163,000 cases of statelessness have been resolved in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. As of 31 December 2021, over 56,000 stateless persons are known in Central Asia, still requiring a nationality, though the actual extent of statelessness is believed to be higher.
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