UNHCR calls for improved access to birth registration to confirm legal identity and prevent statelessness in Ukraine
1 Dec 2023
© Right to Protection
Kyiv, 30 November: A conference “Birth registration for all in Ukraine: achievements, challenges and solutions” took place in Kyiv to mark the ninth anniversary of the global #IBelong campaign aimed to end statelessness in the world.
Organized by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and its NGO partner The Right to Protection, with support from the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, the event addressed the important topic of access to birth registration, particularly in the context of the ongoing full-scale war in Ukraine.
The war has added significant challenges for parents to access this essential procedure, especially those residing in the areas under the temporary military control of the Russian Federation as well as Ukrainian refugees giving birth and applying for birth certificates abroad.
The event brought together leading experts from international organizations, governmental counterparts and civil society to discuss ways to improve access to birth registration for the most vulnerable groups, including undocumented Roma families. Emphasizing the significance of birth registration as a fundamental human right and a crucial tool in preventing statelessness, UNHCR called for collaborative efforts from all stakeholders to ensure that every child born in Ukraine has timely and secure access to birth registration.
“The full-scale war and mass displacement of people have made it more challenging for parents to register their children’s births. It is critical to ensure that every child born in Ukraine, as well as those who are born as refugees outside Ukraine, can confirm their legal identity and be recognized as citizens of Ukraine and access their full rights, so no child is left behind in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We continue working with the Government to ensure that appropriate legislation is adopted in line with Ukraine’s commitment to prevent statelessness,” said Karen Whiting, UNHCR’s Assistant Representative in Ukraine (Protection).
©Right to Protection
UNHCR supports the adoption of the draft law 9069, submitted by the Government of Ukraine to the Parliament, which aims to simplify the registration of essential civil status acts, such as birth certificates, issued in areas under temporary military control of the Russian Federation. This would contribute to the prevention of statelessness or situations where children would be considered without nationality.
Statistics indicate that from 2015 to 2021, up to 200,000 children born in eastern Ukraine and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea reportedly did not receive Ukrainian birth certificates. No data has been made available since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion.
The #IBelong Campaign was launched in November 2014 to end statelessness within ten years, by identifying and protecting stateless people, resolving existing situations of statelessness and preventing more people from becoming stateless. Through legal advocacy and awareness-raising, UNHCR works with governments and partners around the globe towards achieving the goals of the #Ibelong campaign, including ensuring birth registration, as birth certificates provide key information that assists children to confirm or acquire nationality.