Uzbekistan advances efforts to reduce and eradicate statelessness
Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- On 19 September, the National Center of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights (NCHR), together with UNHCR, presented a comparative legal analytical study on issues of statelessness in Uzbekistan and a translation of the Inter-Parliamentary Union-UNHCR Guidelines for parliamentarians on issues citizenship and statelessness in the Uzbek language.
The publications were presented to members of the Legislative Chamber and Senate of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Office of the Oliy Majlis Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as representatives of international organizations and development partners.
The First Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Chamber of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Director of the NCHR Akmal Saidov made an opening speech together with the UN Resident Coordinator in the Republic of Uzbekistan Consuelo Vidal Bruce and the UNHCR Representative for Central Asia Hans Friedrich Schodder.
“The government of Uzbekistan is taking decisive steps to reduce and eradicate statelessness on our territory,” said Professor Saidov. “Since 2014, more than one hundred thousand stateless persons have been identified in the Republic of Uzbekistan, and the cases of 83,793 people have been resolved.”
The study, conducted as part of the third joint annual Action Plan of the NCHR and UNHCR, presents a comprehensive legal analysis of the national legislation of Uzbekistan relating to citizenship and statelessness, as well as subsequent measures to harmonize legislation and practice.
A Guide to Citizenship and Statelessness for Parliamentarians is a global publication containing practical steps to reduce statelessness and examples of how protracted situations of statelessness have been resolved through the collaboration of governments, civil society and the international community.
“Committing to eradicate statelessness is consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals and the core principle of leaving no one behind, as they aim to ensure inclusion and protection of people,” Ms Bruce said.
Statelessness, or the situation where a person is not recognized as a citizen by any country, affects millions of people around the world. Stateless and undocumented persons often cannot access the most basic rights, including access to education, formal employment, health care, or marriage registration.
In 2014, UNHCR launched the #IBelong Global Campaign to End Statelessness. Since then, Uzbekistan has made significant progress in ensuring the rights of stateless persons. Key achievements of Uzbekistan include the adoption of an improved Citizenship Law in 2020 and changes in birth registration practices.
At the 30th session of the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council in 2018, the Government of Uzbekistan supported recommendations to accede to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. Also this week, NCHR and UNHCR, together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan, will hold a technical seminar on procedures for determining the status of a stateless person and the standards of the 1954 Convention.
“We remain committed to supporting the Republic of Uzbekistan in accelerating the implementation of the #IBelong campaign goals to end statelessness by 2024, including strengthening recommendations and support for accession to the 1954 and 1961 Statelessness Conventions,” Mr. Shodder said.
As of mid-2023, there are 25,413 stateless people living in Uzbekistan—the largest number in Central Asia—most of whom are former citizens of the former Soviet Union and their descendants.
NCHR and UNHCR have been collaborating since 2020 to support Uzbekistan’s capacity to implement UPR recommendations related to the reduction and prevention of statelessness and refugee protection.