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On October 18, 2020, the Law establishing the procedure for recognition as a stateless person (statelessness determination procedure – SDP) in Ukraine should have been enacted. This document was the result of common long-term work of government, civic society and international organizations. However, today the Law still has no legal effect, in particular due to the lack of a regulated procedure for processing the applications to recognize person as stateless.

Statelessness determination procedure will provide people who do not have the citizenship of any country and/or identity documents with the opportunity for being officially recognized as stateless persons, able to obtain an identity document, as well as to restore access to normal life and to all types of services and to receive rights and freedoms on the territory of Ukraine.

The law entered into force on July 18, 2020 and should have been enacted three months after its entry into force, on Sunday, October 18, 2020.

The establishment of the procedure prescribed in this law is possible only after the Government and other central authorities bring their regulations in line with the Law. According to the law, they had three months to do it.

In August-September 2020, the State Migration Service of Ukraine got acquainted with foreign experience, prepared a draft resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine “Some issues of recognition as a stateless person” and organized public discussions of the project. Unfortunately, the Government has not yet adopted the necessary by-law to effectively implement the procedure.

“Thousands of people in Ukraine are waiting for the procedure, having no other choice, because none of the states recognizes them as their citizens. Stateless persons in Ukraine are people without identity documents and without the opportunity to live normal life. The team of the Right to Protectionhas already made efforts to make important legislative changes and continues to work towards creating a mechanism for recognition as a stateless person in Ukraine. The procedure will make it possible for Ukraine to fulfill its international obligations regarding stateless persons, ” – said Ksenia Karahiaur, a Legal Analyst at Right to Protection CF.

Therefore, the questions remain open: when will the long-awaited procedure come into force? When will people, who are not recognized as citizens of any country get the right to officially apply to the Ukrainian authorities?

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there are approximately 35,000 people who are stateless or at risk of becoming stateless in Ukraine. Due to the lack of identity documents, they are unable to exercise their human rights and freedoms in Ukraine. Lack of citizenship is most often associated with the consequences of the collapse of Soviet Union and the migration of people during this period or later.