UNHCR helped an 89-year old to get her first passport in Naryn
Today the Representation of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the State Registration Service under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic handed over Kyrgyz passports to 15 people who were at risk of statelessness in Kochkor, Naryn province.
One of the recipients, Asira Tursunalieva, is happy she can finally start receiving pension at age 89. Having learned about the documentation work in the province, it was her grandson who approached the mobile team, requesting assistance in receiving a passport for his grandmother.
“I did not expect that my problem would be resolved promptly. I don’t really need a passport, but it will leave a memory about me to my grandson and his children,” Asira said.
“These passports are more than a piece of paper. It means you are now able to exercise your rights as citizens of Kyrgyzstan. You can register your marriage, your children and have access to pensions or medical insurance,” said Ms. Maki Shinohara, UNHCR’s Representative, while congratulating the new citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic.
In 2014, UNHCR and the State Registration Service under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic launched a joint effort to register and reduce statelessness in the country. Sixty-eight multifunctional mobile teams have been created, trained, and equipped to carry out the documentation campaign in Bishkek and Osh cities as well as in Osh, Jalalabad, Batken, Talas, Chui, Issyk-Kul and Naryn provinces. These teams travelled to remote areas of the country provided free legal counselling to stateless persons or those at risk of statelessness, including Soviet passport holders, foreigners with expired passports, and persons without birth certificates. As of today, over 11,000 people have been identified, of whom over 8,000 have obtained documentation or citizenship.
Legal and administrative gaps are identified through the field activities and are brought to the attention of the government. UNHCR continues to support the Kyrgyz government in addressing practical and legal issues not only to ensure the reduction of statelessness, but also to prevent future cases of statelessness.