|Statelessness reduction campaign launched in Bishkek|
Bishkek, 2 July 2015 – The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, the State Registration Service, and Bishkek Mayor’s Office launched today a campaign to reduce statelessness in Bishkek city. This is a continuation of the Registration and Documentation project that began last year starting from rural areas.
"Persons without citizenship encounter difficulties with municipal registration. Consequently, they do not have access to social services," said Aygul Ryskulova, Vice-Mayor of Bishkek. "This creates significant problems for the city."
Bishkek is a complex urban area that consists of 49 residential communities. In the course of the next three months, twelve multifunctional teams comprising lawyers, passport desk officials, and municipal authorities will be stationed throughout the city. These teams will provide legal aid to stateless and undocumented persons, and will assist project beneficiaries with obtaining documentation.
In 2014, UNHCR and the Kyrgyz Government launched a national campaign to address the remaining cases of statelessness. Multi-functional teams have since travelled to all areas of Batken, Chui, Jalal-Abad, Osh, and Talas provinces to provide free legal consultations and citizenship determination. As of today over 7,500 persons have been registered by the multifunctional teams, of whom over 3,200 cases have received documentation or citizenship. The project is expected to complete by 2016, covering the remaining Naryn and Issyk-Kul provinces.
"Statelessness or the lack of valid documentation precludes individuals from exercising their fundamental civil and political rights. These persons remain without access to health care, education, legal employment, property ownership, and voting registration," said Maki Shinohara, UNHCR Representative. "Statelessness perpetuates from one generation unto another, as stateless parents give birth to stateless children. The cycle must be broken."
The Kyrgyz Republic is closely familiar with the statelessness phenomenon. In the course of the last decade the Kyrgyz government has been taking active steps to reduce statelessness in the country. From 2009 to 2014, as a result of registration and documentation work, the State Registration Service confirmed Kyrgyz citizenship of more than 65,000 Soviet passport holders. In the same period, the government granted citizenship to further 1,630 persons falling under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
"The State Registration Service, as the executive agency responsible for civil registration and documentation, puts much effort into prevention and reduction of statelessness in the Kyrgyz Republic", said Duishon Satybaldiev, Director, Department for Registration of Population, State Registration Service. "Since the creation of the Service we have closely cooperated with UNHCR, and together we have taken a number of effective measures that address the issue of statelessness in the country".
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees leads and co-ordinates humanitarian action to protect refugees, asylum-seekers, and stateless persons in the Kyrgyz Republic. UNHCR provides assistance to state authorities in establishing fair and efficient asylum systems, and in preventing and reducing statelessness. UNHCR also assists communities affected by the inter-ethnic clashes of June 2010.