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Natalia is a happy mother of five wonderful children: Adeline, Arsen, Ivan, Carolina and Diana. The family belongs to the Roma minority. Until 2014, they all lived in the city of Yasynuvata in the Donetsk region, but after the start of the conflict, the family immediately moved to Mariupol.

What sets this family apart from others?

Neither the woman nor her children ever had passports and birth certificates. That is, no documents that would say: yes, these people actually exist. Natalia’s parents did not make documents for her. She, in turn, was unable to issue birth certificates for her five children, who were born in what is now beyond the control of the Ukrainian government. Natalia really wanted a decent life for the children. That they exist in the world not only physically but also legally.

The woman turned to the Right to Protection CF for help, with the words:

“I want my children to go to school; I don’t want the road of life to lead them to prison.”

Natalia understood that an undocumented person is a an out of society human being, that is deprived of the opportunity to work, study and be useful to others.

Lawyers of the Right to Protection have started a struggle for a dignified life for women and their children. Six lawsuits were initiated. Eventually, all five children received birth certificates. Natalia herself is currently undergoing the procedure of acquiring citizenship.

However, the problems did not end there. After receiving birth certificates, children continue to face discrimination and denial of public services. They are denied access to the education system, they are not enrolled in technical schools and colleges, medical institutions do not sign declarations with them, they cannot officially get a job. And all this because the migration service does not issue a passport to their mother.

Natalia’s children are required to obtain identification numbers at the tax office and confirm their registration of residence, which cannot be done without a passport. The migration service of Mariupol is also not hurrying up to issue passports to Natalia’s children, various reasons appear all the time: lack of legislation, desire, time, etc. Meanwhile, winter is coming, which will be a horror for  the whole family. It is not certain if they will survive it. Lack of documents is an obstacle to make a rental agreement, as well as to the ability to work and pay for these apartments.

Natalia and her children are waiting and believe that their problem will be finally solved successfully!

In support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Global Campaign to Combat Statelessness #IBelong (#Яісную) The Right to Protection CF tells stories of 5 different people who have faced the problem of statelessness in Ukraine. In fact, there are thousands of such stories across the country. And they all bring together completely different people who, under certain circumstances, live without documents. We want to address this issue and help solve it!

Read more stories:

2/5: To become a citizen to live a happy life

3/5: To have a citizenship is to have the rights

4/5: To be citizen to receive medical treatment

5/5: Roma people (video)