Birth registration continues to be an obstacle in addressing statelessness in Kyrgyzstan. Even though the overall birth registration rate is high (98%), between 2014 and 2017, UNHCR partners identified more than 2000 cases of children unable to register their birth in the country. Particularly affected are children of parents with undetermined nationality, which include persons with USSR passports who never obtained proof of nationality, citizens of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan who reside in Kyrgyzstan with expired passports, and children whose parents do not have valid immigration documents.
The existence of person with undetermined nationality in the Kyrgyz Republic is a result of State succession, border delineations, and internal and external migration since the country’s independence in 1991. Although tremendous progress has been made by reducing the number of people with undetermined nationality from 13,000 to several hundreds, cases of statelessness continue to emerge as a result of legal gaps, inadequate policies and administrative obstacles. Currently, the drafts of the new Constitutional Law on Citizenship, Law on Civil Acts, Law on Aliens, and Civil Registry system reform are underway. These reforms are focused on digitalization. Existing gaps in nationality legislation which create a risk of statelessness among children need to be addressed, however, if the reformed laws are to meet international standards.
Constitutional amendments in 2017 appear to pave the way to citizenship deprivation on the grounds of violation of national interests. If the Kyrgyz Republic does not ensure that there are adequate safeguards against arbitrary deprivation of nationality, a risk of statelessness to many individuals may be created through these amendments.
Kojomberdi’s mother recently had her Kyrgyz nationality confirmed with UNHCR’s assistance. That made it possible for little Kojomberdi to receive a birth certificate, an important step in acquiring Kyrgyz nationality. Osh region, Kyrgyzstan © UNHCR
1. Improve birth registration to prevent statelessness.
Goal: Adoption of legislation, relevant administrative framework and national policies that warrants every child born in Kyrgyzstan acquires a Birth Certificate upon birth (or shortly after) irrespective of the parents’ legal status—or lack of it—in Kyrgyzstan.