“Everyone has the right to a nationality”

Russian Federation accepts UPR recommendations on statelessness

24 September 2018

Anti-Discrimination Centre Memorial (ADC Memorial), the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI) and the European Network on Statelessness (ENS) today welcomed the Russian Federation’s acceptance of recommendations on statelessness made to it by other states at the recently concluded Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which if implemented will lead to concrete steps to improve the situation of stateless people in the country.

UPR is a mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council which periodically examines the human rights performance of individual Member States. Russian Government responded to the recommendations made by other Member states at the 39th UPR session which is taking place in Geneva between 10 and 28 September 2018.

Previously the issue of statelessness was highlighted in a joint submission by ISI, ENS and ADC Memorial to the UPR in May 2018, which outlined concerns regarding the treatment of stateless people and, in particular, the prolonged detention of those stateless individuals deemed to have violated migration rules.

Above all the organisations welcomed the fact that the Russian government supported the following recommendations:

  • Consider ratifying the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons as well as the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (Burkina Faso).
  • Take additional measures to decrease statelessness among representatives of minority groups (Serbia).
  • Strengthen the implementation of policies to reduce the number of unregistered persons, specially statelessness persons, refugees, holders of temporary residence permit and individuals belonging to certain minority groups (Angola).
  • Step up efforts to end statelessness, especially by establishing safeguards to guarantee birth registration to all children born in the country, including stateless children and those belonging to minority groups (Thailand). 

The declaration made by the Russian government should now be implemented through concrete steps, such as adoption and implementation of relevant amendments to migration legislation to legalise the status of a large number of former Soviet citizens living in Russia,  and documentation of stateless people.

Co-Director of the Insitute on Statelesness and Inclusion Amal de Chickara said:

“We thank all states that made strong recommendations on statelessness to Russia and welcome’s Russia’s response. We now call on Russian authorities to take the next important step of fully implementing these recommendations, and call on the Human Rights Council and Member States to monitor implementation to ensure compliance.”

Chris Nash, the Director of the European Network on Statelessness said:

“Stateless people are often deprived of their liberty simply because they don’t have a nationality. Thousands of stateless people living in Russia are held in detention in atrocious conditions without the prospect of their cases being resolved. Implementing these recommendations should provide some safeguards in preventing their unnecessary and arbitrary detention. We urge Russia to go further and to completely stop detention of stateless people by putting in place procedures to identify people without a nationality so that they don’t end up locked up in limbo.”

Stefania Kulaeva, head of ADC Memorial added:

“Particular attention should be paid to the situation of vulnerable groups who used to suffer from problems with citizenship and documentation, including Roma people who often face difficulties in obtainment personal documents”.

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