Tajikistan is not party to the 1954 or 1961 Conventions; however, it is a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which includes the right of every child to acquire a nationality and immediate birth registration.
The full extent of statelessness is not yet known. Between 2014 and 2019, a joint Government and UNHCR pilot project registered 46,529 persons with undetermined nationality, out of which 40,307 have had their Tajik nationality confirmed. A further 3,481 children at risk of statelessness were assisted to obtain birth certificates.
Statelessness in Tajikistan primarily emerged after the dissolution of the former Soviet Union. The majority of stateless persons are former USSR citizens who left Tajikistan before or during the civil war and were not present in the country to acquire citizenship in Tajikistan under the existing Constitution adopted in November 1994. The main causes of statelessness are migration, gaps in nationality legislation, and policy or administrative obstacles preventing the acquisition of nationality. As a positive step forward, an Amnesty Law was adopted in December 2019 which will regularize the legal stay and subsequently provide stateless persons who were former USSR citizens and their children the opportunity to acquire Tajik citizenship.
Additionally, parents with undetermined nationality face challenges in registering the births of their children. The national authorities will not issue a birth certificate for the newly born child of parents without identity documentation, leaving the child at risk of statelessness. If not addressed, the problem of statelessness has the potential to grow exponentially.
Jumagul and Ergash’s family was stateless. After Jumagul was recognized as a citizen of Tajikistan, the children were able to acquire birth certificates, an important step in acquiring Tajik nationality. Khatlon region, Tajikistan ©UNHCR
1. Improve birth registration to prevent statelessness
Goal: Jointly advocate for bringing national legislation and CRVS procedures in line with international human rights standards, which ensure all children born on the territory have access to birth registration and the right to nationality.