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Statelessness Eradication Begins in Issyk-Kul

February 12, Bishkek – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the State Registration Service of the Kyrgyz Republic launched this week six field teams in Issyk-Kul oblast in joint efforts to reduce statelessness in the Kyrgyz Republic.
During the next four months, multifunctional teams comprising lawyers, passport desk officials, and municipal authorities will be traveling to 59 residential communities in Issyk-Kul oblast to provide legal aid to stateless and/or undocumented persons, and assist in obtaining documentation.  

“We appreciate UNHCR’s support in allowing the government reach out to persons in need of documentation or citizenship. Many are holders of old Soviet passports who for many years have resided in this country.  The multi-functional field teams travel to remote areas and help people apply for valid documentation, without which they cannot exercise their civil rights,” said Akylbek Kaishev, First Deputy Head of Jeti-Oguz district of Issyk-Kul oblast.

Since 2014, UNHCR and Kyrgyz Government have been implementing a nationwide campaign to eradicate statelessness. To date, the government has identified 10,508 persons and resolved 7,115 cases by providing documentation or citizenship. With the start of activities in Issyk Kul and soon in Naryn, the teams will have covered the entire territory of the country by the end of this year.

“This outreach operation is in fact not only providing valid documentation to people, but more importantly, it allows the government to address legal and administrative improvements to prevent statelessness,” said Maki Shinohara, UNHCR Representative.  “Kyrgyz Republic is a leading country in the global campaign (#iBelong) to eradicate and prevent statelessness.”

Meanwhile, UNHCR facilitates 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 government’s practical achievements in resolving statelessness.