|45 Kyrgyz Citizens Receive Documentation|
Ferghana Valley, 07 July 2015 – Representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the State Registration Service presented new Kyrgyz passports to 45 people who have been determined to be citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic. The hand-over ceremony took place today in Jalal-Abad and Osh, another similar ceremony is to be held on 8 July in Batken city.
They are now among some 3,200 people who have received documentation or citizenship under the "Seeds for Solutions" project for the prevention and reduction of Statelessness. As of today, over 7,500 persons have been assisted by mobile teams operating in various parts of the country.
"I am very happy for these 'new citizens," Maki Shinohara, UNHCR's Representative, said. "I applaud the Kyrgyz government's continued efforts to address what is essentially a human rights issue. There are an estimated 10 million stateless people in the world who live as 'the Invisibles' - without legal identities or citizenship of any state. Kyrgyzstan is becoming a model in the global campaign on prevention and reduction of statelessness, restoring social rights to thousands of people."
The Kyrgyz Government and UNHCR launched last year a joint campaign to resolve the remaining cases of statelessness. Multifunctional teams have been trained and equipped to provide legal counselling and documentation in towns and villages throughout the country. These teams have so far travelled to all districts of Batken, Chui, Jalal-Abad, Osh, and Talas provinces. New teams have begun last week to cover the urban city of Bishkek. Next year, Naryn and Issyk-Kul will be covered to complete the country-wide campaign.
"Multifunctional groups have worked efficiently, and I believe that Osh and Jalal-Abad provinces will not face the issue of undocumented and stateless persons in the future", said Muhabbat Pratova, Head of the territorial State Registration Service unit in Jalalabad.
The majority of stateless persons have been living in Kyrgyzstan since birth, many others have settled in the country long time ago and they have integrated themselves into the Kyrgyz communities. Lacking identification documents, however, they cannot enjoy the sets of rights that come with determined citizenship. Stateless and undocumented persons face insurmountable obstacles when attempting to register marriage and childbirth, to travel abroad, or to receive social benefits such as pensions or medical insurance. New citizens will now have access to education, healthcare, legal employment, property ownership, voting registration and other civil rights enjoyed by citizens.
The passport handover ceremonies also served as an opportunity for UNHCR to deliver material assistance to passport desks of the three southern provinces. UNHCR hopes that these assets will increase the capacity of the State Registration Service's territorial units to deal with the increasing workload.