Meeting between the Ministry of Civil Affairs and UNHCR on the occasion of the 6th anniversary of the UNHCR campaign #IBelong
On the occasion of the anniversary of the IBelong campaign, a meeting was held yesterday in the premises of the Ministry of Civil Affairs between Minister Ankica Gudeljevic and UNHCR Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Lucie Gagné to discuss joint efforts to eradicate statelessness in BiH.
“Thanks to good cooperation with partners and all relative government institutions, and especially with the Ministry of Civil Affairs as a pivotal institution in solving this problem, we have managed to positively resolve many cases of people at risk of statelessness, and we hope to work together fully to eradicate this phenomenon by 2024,” said UNHCR Representative in BiH Lucie Gagné.
“People without affiliation, people without fundamental human and civil rights and are not people with all that human carries. These are invisible people who only breathe and survive! Only a man with civil rights has dignified life. Once he is included in social, political and non-political life of the community. Every man must have a “right to have rights.” Therefore, I want to resolutely support all efforts to eradicate this discriminatory phenomenon because we all belong somewhere – Minister Gudeljevic pointed out.
As UNHCR estimates, approximately 100 are currently at risk of statelessness in BiH, but much work remains to be done, and efforts from all actors are still needed in order to reduce the number of cases and especially to prevent the emergence of new ones. As in other parts of the world, various often interrelated factors cause statelessness. In the case of BiH, factors include the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, economic, social and political exclusion of national minorities, lack of access to birth registration and cumbersome processes especially in already marginalized communities.
The relatively low number of persons at risk of statelessness, as well as the very small number of stateless persons today, is a direct result of targeted and coordinated work with partners and authorities, among other things, on improving the legal framework in BiH. Since 2008, when UNHCR started programs dedicated to this purpose, UNHCR have been able to identify 1,777 people (mostly children or mothers with children) and help them in the process of registration in the birth and citizenship registers and to obtain all necessary personal documents
The vast majority of people at risk of statelessness in BiH belong to national minorities, especially the Roma population, but there are also a number of asylum-seekers who remain at risk of statelessness. . The Ministry of Civil affairs has been solution oriented and has been key to these achievements. The ministry reiterated its will to support the work being currently done on the remaining cases.