Turkmenistan, Ashgabat, Dec. 11 / Trend H. Hasanov /
According to official information, about 40,000 people without citizenship live in Central Asia.
The U.N. said thousands more people might be revealed in a press release summarizing the results of an Ashgabat international conference organized by the UNHCR.
The event was held jointly with the OSCE. It is the first in a series of meetings organized by the UNHCR around the world. The campaign is financed by the EU.
Representatives of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and international organizations attended the conference.
Thousands of people have left without a citizenship as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union and internal conflicts.
A list of measures to prevent and reduce this number was developed out at the event. The right to citizenship is a fundamental human right recognized in several international documents, the UNHCR said. Participants acknowledged the existence of problems leading to the situation and developed a a list of measures, including:
• Doubling the efforts to identify the population without citizenship via census, surveys, and registration campaigns;
• Proving the legal status of citizens who have no documents through the issuance of valid identification documents;
• Registering all children born in the country at birth;
• Simplifying procedures by reducing the residence requirements and documentation for people without citizenship to gain citizenship and abolishing fees;
Participants also determined legal and administrative reforms that can solve such issues as:
• Requirements that people must leave their citizenship before attaining the citizenship of another country, or without firm guarantees that they will be able to obtain citizenship of another state;
• Requirements for citizens living abroad for a long time to register at consular offices.
During the conference special attention was paid to constructive measures taken by governments. These examples include a comprehensive campaign to replace Soviet passports with valid documents in Kazakhstan, legal reforms in the Kyrgyz Republic to grant citizenship to certain categories of people without citizenship on the basis of domicile, and programs to identify and register people without citizenship in Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan.
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