UNHCR-UNICEF Coalition bringing Central Asian Governments Together to Combat Childhood Statelessness

The Vice-Minister of Justice (center) of the Republic of Kazakhstan chairing the regional meeting ©S.Gurzhin

On 7-8 June 2018, the Ministry of Justice of Kazakhstan, UNHCR and UNICEF convened a regional meeting with representatives of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan, to discuss efforts in ensuring birth registration to all children in Central Asia.

The “Regional Conference on the Right to Legal Identity and Prevention of Statelessness in Central Asia” took place under the umbrella of the Coalition on Every Child’s Right to a Nationality. Childhood statelessness is a common challenge across Central Asia, affecting thousands of children. It is often caused by the lack of birth registration of children born to undocumented parents and the lack of legal safeguards in nationality laws that help to prevent statelessness.

During the meeting, representatives of the five Central Asian countries exchanged positive developments in addressing childhood statelessness and reflected on further measures to overcome legislative and administrative gaps. They expressed their intention to continue taking efforts related to Action 2 (Ensure that no child is born stateless) and Action 7 (Ensure birth registration for the prevention of statelessness) of the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness, and reaffirmed their partnership with UNHCR, UNICEF and ESCAP.

Over 100,000 people are known to be stateless in Central Asia. The majority of them are former citizens of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) who have not yet acquired or confirmed citizenship of the newly independent States.

Click here to read more articles from the UNHCR and UNICEF Coalition.

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