Operational Context

The Law on Citizenship in Kazakhstan does not provide safeguards against statelessness and restricts nationality to children born to at least one parent that is a citizen of Kazakhstan. In addition, children born to undocumented parents cannot be registered and do not receive birth certificates, leaving them at risk of statelessness. The authorities do not keep statistics of children who are not registered at birth or denied birth registration. These children face obstacles in accessing human rights, including access to education and health care. Without a birth certificate, children are unable to obtain a passport, and therefore face obstacles in enjoying freedom of movement.

Undocumented persons in Kazakhstan include USSR passport holders who did not obtain new passports; those who immigrated in the 1990s from another former Soviet State and did not regularize their stay; and labour migrants from the Commonwealth of Independent States who did not register at Embassies of their countries of origin for five or more years.

Kazakhstan is not party to either of the Statelessness Conventions. In June 2018, the Ministry of Justice of Kazakhstan agreed to host a Regional Conference on the Right to Legal Identity and Prevention of Statelessness. Further, joint advocacy efforts by UNICEF and UNHCR aim to promote revisions in Kazakhstan’s national legislation to ensure birth registration and nationality rights to all children.  

Children displaying their recently acquired birth certificates. They were assisted by UNHCR to receive these documents as their parents have unconfirmed citizenship. Shymkent, Kazakhstan © UNHCR

Strategy Objectives

1. Promoting law reform, and its implementation, to ensure safeguards in nationality laws to prevent statelessness amongst children.

Goal: All children have access to Kazakh nationality in cases where they would otherwise be stateless.

2. Improving birth registration to prevent statelessness.

Goal: Children born to undocumented parents or parents with undetermined nationality have access to an efficient and free birth registration process regardless of the legal status of their parents.


Strategy Timeframe: 2018 to 2020

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