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“Stateless Persons and Administrative Procedure for Receiving Birth and Death Certificates by Persons of Temporarily Occupied Territories” round table was held at the Committee on Human Rights* building of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on November 6. The event was organized by CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) in collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Committee on Human Rights.

There are about 35,000 stateless people in Ukraine, according to the UNHCR.

The problem of overcoming statelessness was the main subject of the round table. There were two main tasks within the framework of the event: firstly, to familiarize the problem of statelessness, and those novelties introduced by the new draft law (№ 2335); secondly, to involve in the fruitful discussion the maximum number those representatives of public authorities involved in resolving the issue of settling birth and death facts in the temporarily occupied territories.

“The problem of statelessness is not new to Ukraine. According to various estimates in our country there are up to 35,000 stateless persons who cannot actually enjoy any of their rights, they don’t have access to any services (social, administrative) at the same level as other citizens or foreigners, living in Ukraine”, said Darina Tolkach, R2P Advocacy Coordinator. “Since 2014, Ukraine has acceded to the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. But unfortunately, the humanization of the legislation have not happened. Therefore, we are welcoming the fact that the Committee has registered a long-standing draft law developed by the State Migration Service, The UNHCR Office and a number of NGOs. We look forward to the swift adoption  of this draft law by the Verkhovna Rada. Thousands of people are waiting for the adoption of this law and the opportunity to solve their problems”.

The conflict in Donbass has also provoked the risk of statelessness for many people who currently reside or left the occupied territories. Birth and death registration issue in the occupied territories also makes this problem worse. R2P experts say that the ways to overcome the statelessness risks of the conflict in Donbas must be found.

The round table also presented the results of monitoring the territorial units of the State Migration Service in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts on the issue of receiving the Ukrainian passport.

“A lot of people in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts have a problem with issuing a Ukrainian passport after it was lost or damaged. Another big problem is updating passport photo when reaching the age of 25 and 45 due to complex administrative procedures of identifying a person”, said Anna Babko, R2P Legal Analyst.

This report will be published shortly.

* Committee on Human Rights, Deoccupation and Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories in Donetsk, Luhansk oblasts and Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Sevastopol, National Minorities and Interethnic Relations.