AKIPRESS.COM - UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today brought together representatives of Central Asian governments, civil society and other UN agencies at a “Senior Officials’ Roundtable on Ending Statelessness” to further accelerate progress towards everyone’s right to a nationality.
The sharing of knowledge during the roundtable is expected to enable Central Asian States to achieve the goal of ending statelessness in the sub-region by 2024, as envisaged as part of UNHCR’s Global Action Plan to End Statelessness 2014 – 2024 and the #IBelong campaign.
Statelessness, the situation of not being recognized as a citizen by any country, affects millions of people around the world. Without a nationality, stateless people often cannot access the most basic of rights, including education, employment and healthcare.
The event was opened by Aslan Atalykov, Chairman of the Migration Service Committee of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Indrika Ratwatte, UNHCR Regional Director for Asia Pacific. National and international experts shared practical experiences and explored strategies to address statelessness effectively.
“Over the last decade the world has made much progress in identifying, reducing, and preventing statelessness, as well as in protecting the rights of stateless individuals,” said Indrika Ratwatte. “The success story relies very much on the contribution of Central Asian States. Considering this progress, Central Asia may well be on the track of becoming the first region in the world to end statelessness.”
During the roundtable, participants discussed strategies and best practices for resolving individual statelessness cases, ensuring universal birth registration, enhancing legal safeguards, facilitating accession to statelessness conventions, improving statelessness data and statistics, and developing statelessness-related pledges for the Global Refugee Forum 2023 in Geneva later this year. The discussions emphasized the importance of collaboration and data-driven approaches to protect individuals' rights and prevent statelessness in the Central Asian sub-region.
The event was attended by representatives from Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
As of March 2023, over 40,000 people were known to be stateless or of undetermined nationality in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
With stateless people continuously identified across Central Asia, the true number is believed to be higher. Since the start of the #IBelong campaign in 2014, over 180,000 statelessness cases have been resolved in Central Asia by March 2023.