UNHCR welcomes new resolution adopted by the government of Ukraine aimed at ending statelessness in Ukraine

Every person has a right to belong

25 Mar 2021

On March 24, the Government of Ukraine adopted a resolution “On some issues of recognition as a stateless person”, which establishes a procedure for determining whether persons are stateless. This resolution will help to regularize the legal status of stateless persons who arrived in Ukraine after November 1991 and have invalid identity documents.

When this procedure is implemented, persons who have invalid or no documents will be able to submit applications for recognition as stateless persons to the territorial bodies and units of the State Migration Service of Ukraine and to obtain a certificate allowing them to legally stay in Ukraine until the end of the statelessness determination procedure. After recognition, they will be able to obtain a legal identity document – a temporary residence permit, enabling them to exercise their rights. They will have the chance to work legally, study and access healthcare, and will ultimately have a pathway to citizenship.

One of such stateless persons is Serhii Kravchenko. He was born in the Russian Federation and moved to Ukraine in 1996. He has a USSR passport, which prevented him from finding official employment or receiving access to public health services. In 2012, his legs were amputated. Currently, he is living in a church in Donetsk oblast and depending on the support of volunteers.

[IMG | SOURCE: https://www.unhcr.org/ua/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2021/03/sergiy-894x504.jpg]

Serhii Kravchenko is in his shelter in a church in the Donetsk region. His identification documents are not valid and he cannot use health care and other basic services. Photo @UNHCR/Oleksandr.Chelmenyov

Thanks to the new resolution, Serhii will finally be able to regularize his stay in Ukraine and will have access to basic rights and services.

Currently, Ukraine is home to many persons who have lived here for many years, sometimes even decades, with invalid passports or without identity documents at all. Most come from republics of the former USSR.

The adoption of this document was envisaged by the law, known as the ‘Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Concerning Recognition as a Stateless Person’, adopted by the Parliament on 16 June 2020.

UNHCR welcomes this important step for the protection of stateless persons, which is in line with the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons ratified by Ukraine in 2013, as well as EU practice and UNHCR guidance.

This procedure protects the right to be recognized as a person before the law, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and promotes the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, in which the global community agreed to provide legal identity for all by 2030.