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AKIPRESS.COM - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the State Registration Service of the Kyrgyz Republic on November 11 held the Seventh High-Level Steering Meeting on Reduction and Prevention of Statelessness in the Kyrgyz Republic. Government officials, representatives of civil society and experts reviewed progress in the implementation of the National Action Plan on Reduction and Prevention of Statelessness and agreed on the next steps to end statelessness.
The Kyrgyz government, legal NGOs and UNHCR launched a joint effort between 2014 and 2016, to address the remaining cases of statelessness in the country as part of the National Action Plan. Sixty-eight mobile teams have worked throughout the country, including remote villages, providing free legal consultations and helping to file for documentation or citizenship determination. To date, the government has registered about 12,000 applications and has resolved nearly 9,000 cases with documentation, citizenship acquisition or determination.
“With UNHCR’s support, we were able to reach out to thousands of people and help them restore their rights as our citizens,” said State Registration Service Chairman Tairbek Sarpashev. “We are also thankful to UNHCR for this learning experience and SRS will continue following the methodology to identify and resolve statelessness in remote communities.”
This year, a government expert group produced an analysis of gaps and collisions in the national legislation. UNHCR has also supported the Ministry of Finance to look into a financial analysis toward accession to the two Conventions on Statelessness.
“The Kyrgyz Republic has made remarkable achievements this year not only in practically reducing statelessness, but also toward prevention. We hope that relevant legislative amendments will be adopted in the near future to prevent statelessness from occurring,” said UNHCR’s Representative. Maki Shinohara. “We have all collectively learned over the years that resolving statelessness is a complex process, which requires strong collaboration between multiple agencies. We are grateful to the Kyrgyz Government to have seriously taken on the necessary work to address difficulties faced by individuals, families and communities, and to ensure further peace and development of the country.”
In 2014, UNHCR has launched a global campaign, #iBelong, to eradicate statelessness, which affects an estimated 10 million persons around the world. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Mr. Fillipo Grandi noted that the Kyrgyz Republic is among the top four countries that made significant strides to reduce the number of stateless persons in their respective territories.
The UN Refugee Agency encourages the Kyrgyz Republic’s accession to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. The accession will bring international recognition to the Kyrgyz Republic not only on its firm stance against statelessness, but also for the practical achievements made by the Government to resolve statelessness and protecting the human rights of its citizens.