Montenegro enacted several changes to legislation governing nationality on its road to independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and later from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. Under these nationality laws, Roma and Egyptians who were born outside of Montenegro are at a high risk of statelessness if they cannot prove a link to any of the former Yugoslav countries, as this is essential for them to obtain a permanent residence permit. Children from Roma and Egyptian minorities and children with an unknown parent (or separated parents who do not communicate with each other) also remain vulnerable to statelessness due to lack of birth registration.
The 2015 amendments to the Law on Non-Contentious Proceedings simplified late birth registration procedures for those born outside of health facilities, which assists in preventing statelessness. In October 2019, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare piloted a new practice to address birth registration gaps for children who were abandoned or whose mothers lack identification documents. The practice yielded positive results and was instituted in additional municipalities for all other cases known to UNHCR. Given the complexity of many cases and the fact that this birth registration practice is new, continued sensitization and training of government staff is needed to ensure proper implementation.
In October 2019, at the High-Level Segment on Statelessness, Montenegro committed to continuing the collaboration among its Ministries with the aim of conducting immediate birth registration of children who were abandoned or whose mothers lack identification documents, so as to remove the main risk of statelessness.
1. Improving birth registration to prevent statelessness.
Goal 1: Continue to sensitize social welfare professionals to the challenges related to birth registration
Goal 2: Train social welfare professionals on international standards and the new birth registration practice
Goal 3: Harmonize the birth registration practice throughout the territory of Montenegro in order to establish functional practices for birth registration in current and future cases
Strategy timeframe: 2020