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Regional seminar “Elimination of statelessness in Central Asia countries”

On 5 November 2015, a Regional seminar “Elimination of statelessness in Central Asia countries” was conducted in Almaty for NGOs. Leading NGOs from all Central Asia regions have met in order to establish a regional network of NGOs to jointly solve the issues of prevention and reduction of absent nationality. NGO LCWI Sana Sezim was represented by Shakhlo Yussupzhanova and Liliya Khaliulina.

The organizer of the regional seminar was The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) within the UNHCR’s “I belong to a World” (#IBELONG) Campaign, which aims to eliminate statelessness throughout the world by the Year 2024 and was launched on 4th November 2014.

Statelessness is a major violation of human rights, which affects at least 10 million people around the world. There are about 120,000 stateless people in Central Asia, with Kazakhstan having about 7,000 officially registered stateless people. In Kyrgyzstan – there are over 13,000, Tajikistan – over 10,000, Turkmenistan – over 10,000 (as of July 2015).

UNHCR has launched the campaign to inform governments, civil society and mass media on elimination of statelessness. Over 56,000 people have signed the Open letter to end statelessness, including large number of supporters of nation leaders. Specific attention from UNHCR is paid to civil society, which plays important role in prevention and reduction of statelessness. Civil society is able to have an impact on carrying out national legal reforms, providing legal consultations and assistance to people who have no nationality, to identify reasons of statelessness and raise public awareness on urgency and importance of such problem.

Mr. Bernard Doyle, UNHCR Regional Representative/Regional Coordinator for Central Asia, has stated: “Central Asia region has the unique opportunity in resolving the issue of ending statelessness, considering high commitment of regional governments. Statelessness could be settled, counting sufficiently small amount of stateless people and existing resources of countries to solve this problem. Cooperation with civil society to combat statelessness is very important, and I optimistically face this issue in Central Asia and I think that this region could be the first in the world on total elimination of statelessness”.