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21.04.21

Statelessness Determination Procedure has been developed and approved under Article 6-1 of the Law of Ukraine On the Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons.

This law stipulates that a person who cannot obtain a passport due to the lack of citizenship of any country has the right to apply to the Migration Service for recognition as a stateless person. Statelessness Determination Procedure is already available and, if you are undocumented and suspect that you do not have citizenship, you already have the right to apply to the State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMSU) for the status of a stateless person.

 Why should I apply?

The authority will check whether you actually do not have the citizenship of any country in which you or your parents have been living, born, etc. If this fact gets confirmed you will be granted the official status of a stateless person. This means that you will receive an identity document and will have the legal right to stay in Ukraine.

 How to know if I am a stateless person?

You don’t have to know that for sure. 

The following signs may indicate a lack of citizenship:

 • you have lost your passport long time ago or never had it at all;

 • the consulate of your country of residence refuses to document you;

 • the Migration Service reported that you do not have Ukrainian citizenship;

 • you do not have a birth certificate and/or a passport due to the lack of citizenship of your parents;

 • you are not sure that you do not have citizenship, however, you suspect that you have lost it and have been in Ukraine for a long time without identity documents;

 • other.

Can I apply on my own? Where should I go?

Yes. Although you stay illegally in the territory of Ukraine and have no identity documents, you are still able to apply for recognition as a stateless person. Applications are considered by the bodies and subdivisions of the State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMSU).

How to prepare for the application?

1. Collect the documents

The procedure stipulates that if possible, the applicant must provide the following documents:

1). Identity document, OR a document granting the right to enter or leave the country, issued by a foreign state (in other words, a travel document);

 2). A document certifying the fact of non-citizenship of another state, the validity of which has expired (replies of the consulate or embassy of a foreign country), OR the other document which confirms the information contained in the application.

Other documents may be the:

 • ones which confirm the fact of birth;

 • ones which confirm the marriage;

 • ones that confirm the presence of children;

 • ones which confirm the fact of study in an educational institution of Ukraine or another state;

 • passport of a citizen of the former USSR issued since 1974;

 • work documents;

 • ones which confirm the fact of receiving medical services on the territory of Ukraine;

 • documents on the place of residence;

 • documents on housing or other real estate ownership in Ukraine;

 • certificates issued by the state bodies;

 • certificates from the embassies of foreign states or places of previous permanent and long-term residence, as well as from the states where the members of an applicant’s family have the citizenship;

 • other documents confirming the information contained in the application.

!!  The absence of certain documents or even any documents is not a ground for refusing recognition as a stateless person and is not a ground for refusing to accept an application.

!!  The applicant is obliged to provide all available documents during the procedure.

2. Prepare a list of persons who will be interviewed by the Migration Service representatives to confirm the information contained in the application.

According to the Law, in case you do not have the above-mentioned documents, the State Migration Service of Ukraine conducts a survey of relatives, neighbors, or other persons (three at least), which can confirm the facts stated in the application.

According to the Procedure, the interview of the following persons is also carried out with the purpose of identification of the applicant. The survey must be conducted within 14 working days from the date of the submission of an application. People who know you personally will be asked to confirm certain life facts about you through the provision of a written explanation.

Also, your acquaintances will be asked to confirm your identity (that they have known you personally for a certain period) by signing a so-called Identification Act.

Therefore, before applying for statelessness, you need to prepare a list of at least three relatives, neighbors, or acquaintances for such a survey, which will take place within 14 working days after the application. The need to draw up the Identification Act is not mandatory in every case, but at least one of the documents must be completed.

!!  The survey of the list of people you provide to confirm your circumstances is carried out only with your written consent. Consent is given in a written form in a separate column of the Application for recognition as a stateless person.

!!  If you are not ready for your relatives and acquaintances to be interviewed and refuse to give written consent, the Migration Service has the right to refuse to accept your application for further review.

!!  If the Migration Service requires more detailed information about you, they reserve the right to visit you at your place of residence at any time, as well as to interview your neighbors.

3. If you need an interpreter

The State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMSU) can provide you with an interpreter to accept your application, but this issue must be resolved in advance, i.e. before the application is submitted. In this case, the presence of an interpreter must be ensured during the interview.

4. If you are in a healthcare facility

If you are in a healthcare facility due to your health condition and cannot get to the SMSU branch/unit/department on your own, you should inform the representatives of the Migration Service about this fact. They will be able to come to you to accept the application for recognition as a stateless person and documents.

5. If you are under the age of 18 and do not have a parent, grandparent, adult sibling, or any other legal representative, notify the nearest Migration Service branch/unit/department of your intention to apply for statelessness. According to the current Procedure, the SMSU is obliged to immediately resolve the issue of appointing a legal representative from among the specialists of the local guardianship authority or the State Children Affairs Service. The application for recognition as a stateless person will be submitted on your behalf by the legal representative. The legal representative must also be present during the interview.

How the application is processed and accepted

Як звернутися з заявою про визнання особою без громадянства?

You should personally contact the State Migration Service division/body/department at your area of residence. According to the Procedure, territorial divisions of the SMSU (in your district should be at least one of them) accept applications in the same way as territorial bodies (regional offices, their list is available on the official website of the State Migration Service of Ukraine).

The SMSU employee who is entrusted to receive applications for statelessness fills in the application from your words in a special electronic system called “State Migration Service of Ukraine Departmental Information System”. After you provide all the necessary information, the application is printed and issued to you (or your legal representative) for review. After correction of all the errors/inaccuracies, you must sign your statement.

The application form approved by the Government can be found at the link.  

Your biometric data (your digitized fingerprints) will be collected during the application process.

On the day of acceptance of the application, the Migration Service must provide you with a certificate (Dovidka) proving that you currently applied for recognition as a stateless person. The following certificate is valid for 6 months from the date of submission of the application and confirms that you have all the legal grounds to stay in the territory of Ukraine (i.e., for the entire procedure as the term for consideration of the application is 6 months). 

If the Migration Service was unable to collect and analyze all the necessary information to confirm your citizenship within this period, the certificate is prolonged to up to 12 months. In this case, be sure to contact the Migration Service to extend the certificate’s validity a week or two before its expiration.

What’s an interview?

Як звернутися з заявою про визнання особою без громадянства?

The interview is a formal conversation between the applicant and the State Migration Service employee to clarify all the information provided by the applicant during the application process. Everything said during this meeting is documented and the participants of the interview give their signatures to confirm that all the recorded information is correct. All information is then taken into account when making the final decision. The interview is initiated by the SMSU or by the applicant.

If you want to report new information, describe some facts, or provide new documents that you have just received, initiate an interview with the Migration Service. To do this, you must first apply for an interview to the body or department of the SMSU, where you applied for recognition as a stateless person. The interview must be conducted no later than 10 working days from the date of submission of this application. 

The State Migration Service also has the right to initiate an interview, the date of which must be notified to you no later than three working days before the interview.

 !!  Pay attention! If you can’t attend the interview be sure to let the SMSU know about this via sending them a written notice. And also make sure that the Migration Service has received your notice.

In which case can I be denied an application for recognition as a stateless person?

This is possible in four following cases:

1. If you have the citizenship of Ukraine or a foreign state and it became obvious to the employee of the SMSU at the time of your application. For example, you came with a valid passport of a citizen of a certain country.

2. If you already have the official status of a stateless person. Persons that have an identity document confirming the stateless status do not have the right or need to apply for recognition as a stateless person in Ukraine. The only exception is for the person who has lost his/her stateless status. In this case, you must provide proof of termination of the stateless status received earlier.

3. If you refuse to consent for your neighbors, relatives or other acquaintances to be questioned to confirm the information that you have provided in your application.

!! The absence of such persons is not a ground for refusing to accept the application!

4. If you refused to provide your biometric data (digitized fingerprints).

Only a person who is physically in Ukraine can apply for a stateless status.

What should I do if my application gets rejected?

Як звернутися з заявою про визнання особою без громадянства?

1. Demand the written copy of a refusal to accept the application, which contains the reasons for refusal. If the reason for refusal is different from the reasons listed above, such refusal can be considered illegal.

2. Contact the Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P) for a free consultation (LEGAL ASSISTANCE AND OUTREACH TO STATELESS PERSONS AND THOSE AT RISK OF STATELESSNESS tab)

3. You can send a copy of the refusal together with your complaint to the State Migration Service of Ukraine (a sample of a complaint). The State Migration Service of Ukraine controls and coordinates the activities of its territorial bodies and subdivisions and, according to the legislation is obliged to consider the citizens’ appeals.

!! You have the right to re-apply for recognition as a stateless person in case the circumstances due to which you were denied were eliminated.

!! If your application for recognition as a stateless person is not accepted, you can file a complaint. The sample complaint is available for download in .docx format following the link (system requirements: Microsoft Office 2010 or newer)

Person’s rights and responsibilities during the application procedure

You have the right to:

1. Initiate an interview with the State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMSU) employee to provide the additional information and the other information that was not mentioned at the time of acceptance of the application.

2. Ask for a translator from the SMSU if you do not understand Ukrainian. In such a case it is desirable to apply in written form.

3. To receive a certificate of application (Dovidka) on the day of submission of the application for recognition as a stateless person: the “Dovidka” certificate will confirm the legal grounds for a temporary stay on the territory of Ukraine.

4. Work during the period of the processing of your application, provided that your employer obtains permission from the Employment Center.

You must:

1. Always appear for the interviews with the Migration Service or notify in advance of the need to postpone the date of the interview.

2. Provide all the evidence that you have to support your words. In particular, you are obliged to provide the new document just received (if relevant to the procedure) within 10 working days of receiving it.

3. After receiving the decision on recognition as a stateless person, you are obliged to apply to the Migration Service for a temporary residence permit within 10 days.

4. If you have been recognized as a stateless person and subsequently obtained the citizenship of a foreign state, you are obliged to notify the State Migration Service in written form within 30 days from the date of registration of citizenship.

Annex: sample complaint on the SMSU refusal to accept the application for recognition as a stateless person:

Download in .docx format (system requirements: Microsoft Office 2010 or higher)

Як звернутися з заявою про визнання особою без громадянства?

Also read:

14.04.21

In 2019, with tears in her eyes, Lida entered the Kharkiv office of the Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P) for the first time, holding her five-year-old daughter’s hand.

The woman said that she was born in a Roma family during the Soviet era. She has been living in the Kupyansk district of the Kharkiv region since the late 1970s, but no documentary evidence of this exists. A woman cannot prove her citizenship of Ukraine and obtain a passport.  

The Migration Service did everything possible for Lida – established her identity, and issued a certificate, but it was not possible to establish her citizenship of any state. Talking about her wanderings, Lida quietly wiped away tears and hugged her daughter, who had all the chances to repeat the fate of her mother and be left without documents, education, and a chance for a better life.

Passport for the sake of the daughter’s happy future. The story of Lida Паспорт заради щасливого майбутнього донечки. Історія Ліди

Lida signed an agreement with the Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P) on the provision of Free Legal Aid, and long and painstaking work began.

The fact of Lida’s residence on the territory of Ukraine as of August 24, 1991, was established in court. Later, a package of documents was prepared and submitted to establish Lida’s citizenship of Ukraine. Thanks to the high qualification, diligence, and persistence, and incredible efforts of the staff of the State Migration Service of Ukraine in the Kharkiv region (in particular, to the Ulyanchenko Kateryna Mykolayivna), the information necessary for Lida was formed and the documents were sent. 

Passport for the sake of the daughter’s happy future. The story of Lida Паспорт заради щасливого майбутнього донечки. Історія Ліди

In the end, Lida received a long-awaited certificate of registration as a citizen of Ukraine, and 2 weeks later – the passport. Now the woman is happy: she finally has the opportunity to work officially, register her place of residence, and most importantly – avoid problems with documents for her daughter in the future.  

Currently, employees of the Kupyansk Regional Department of the State Migration Service of Ukraine in Kharkiv Oblast, together with the R2P lawyer are working on the issue of registration of Lida’s seven-year-old daughter as a citizen of Ukraine.

Now Lida’s eyes still have tears, but those are the tears of joy and gratitude. Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P) wishes success to the family of the new citizen of Ukraine. Just believe – and everything will be fine!

Passport for the sake of the daughter’s happy future. The story of Lida Паспорт заради щасливого майбутнього донечки. Історія Ліди

UNHCR Ukraine – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ukraine

Also read:

14.04.21

Recently a man applied to the Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P). He was born in Georgia but this country does not recognize him as its own citizen. In fact, he is waiting for the Stateless Determination Procedure (SDP) to finally become a reality in Ukraine. But there is one major problem: he could be detained and placed in the Migrant Accommodation Centre (MAC).

stateless person could face detention prior to the introduction of the Stateless Determination Procedure georgia citizen stateless in Ukraine особа без громадянства з Грузії в Україні

In January 2021, the territorial unit of the State Migration Service of Ukraine (SMSU) decided to forcibly return him to the country of origin.  Unfortunately, yesterday the appellate court supported the Migration Service and ruled to implement this decision. The fact that a person does not have the citizenship of his country of origin is not a secret, the Migration Service even noted this in the decision. This fact was also taken into account by the court.

As the man has nowhere to return and he cannot do so without the proper documents, he is threatened with detention and then deportation from the territory of Ukraine.  

The man wants to apply for recognition as soon as the Government of Ukraine Resolution “On Some Issues of Recognition as a Stateless Person” of March 24, 2021, enters into force. However, it is not clear if it will save him from the decision on placement to the MAC and on further forced return. After all, he is forced to violate the rules of stay on the territory of Ukraine and despite his wishes, is simply unable to comply with the SMSU & court decisions.

stateless 2 ПТПІ Migrant Accommodation Centre (MAC) in Ukraine

Our beneficiary has a wife, a daughter, and a sister, all of whom have Ukrainian citizenship. The whole family is waiting for the stateless status to become real. The procedure will be available soon, which is likely to happen in the next few weeks.

More details on the Stateless Determination Procedure are available in the video (in Ukrainian) and in an article.

Lawyers of the CF “Right to Protection” (R2P) have repeatedly stressed that the detention of stateless persons and the extension of the detention of such persons at Migrant Accommodation Center should take place only as a last resort when all the possible alternatives (starting with the least restrictive ones) have been exhausted. In order to determine whether detention is necessary and proportionate, statelessness should be detected at the time of the detention decision and the period of detention should be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

In other words, if it is already known that a person does not have citizenship and his detention will not lead to identification and expulsion, then such detention makes no sense. Basically, a person gets imprisoned while nothing actually depends on him/her.

More about cases of disproportionate detention of stateless persons and unnecessary extension of the detention period can be found on page 26 of the report “State of Observance of the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless persons” by CF “Right to Protection” (R2P).

Also read:

12.04.21

We bring to your attention the summary of the Alternative Interim Report within the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) “State of Observance of the Rights of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Stateless Persons in Ukraine“, prepared by a coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) concerned with the rights of the above-mentioned categories of persons: Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P)Charitable Foundation “Rokada”, NGO “The Tenth of April” (“Desyate Kvitnya”) and The International Fund for Public Health and Environment “Carpathian Region” NEEKA

The report outlines the main systemic problems that lead to regular violations of the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless persons, as well as provides specific proposals to the Government on ways to address these problems.  

Such problems include the de facto impossibility of temporary employment for asylum seekers and the absence or limited access of asylum seekers and their children to free health services.

For example, the CF “Right to Protection” provided legal assistance to the families of Afghan citizens who were forced to flee the country to escape the war and as a result, found protection in Ukraine. There is a minor child in the family who needs medical care, but it is not possible to sign a declaration with the family doctor because parents must provide a valid identity document (the application for protection is not recognized as an identity document).

Seeing a certificate for the protection, one by one the employers closed the doors to him because Ukrainian law requires them to obtain a work permit and to pay him an official salary of at least 10 minimum Ukrainian wages. As a result, he entered the market unofficially. Such work rarely goes unnoticed: in a few months, one receives a fine for informal employment.

To address these issues, the NGO coalition recommends amending a number of laws, providing for the right of applicants to work without a special employment permit for foreigners, and for the Ministry of Health of Ukraine to develop and submit to the Verkhovna Rada a bill on the provision of medical services to children whose parents do not have identity documents.

The State has made some significant achievements in this direction over the past year, such as the creation of a legislative foundation for the introduction and operation of the procedure for recognition as a stateless person.  However, some of the issues identified in the report have not been addressed for many years and have been in the focus of past UPR reviews.

Among such problems is the unjustified detention of stateless persons for further identification and expulsion. For example, CF “Right to Protection” recently reported that a stateless person is threatened with detention. In this context, NGOs again recommend that detention be provided only as a last resort, when necessary and proportionate after all alternatives (starting with the least restrictive ones) have been exhausted.

The problem of the impossibility of identification related to imperfect legal regulation has become systemic: when checking citizenship, obtaining a passport of a citizen of Ukraine, obtaining a passport for the first time, establishing a person in court, etc. The second part of the report provides a list of legislative gaps and problems of law enforcement.

For example, a woman of the retirement age with a disability to whom the CF “Right to Protection” provided legal assistance is not able to work due to her health condition. Due to the lack of documents, the disability is not registered, she does not receive pensions or other payments, medical care is not available to her, she has no housing, and no relatives. The woman lives in an abandoned house without gas, electricity, water. Twice a week she goes to receive free food, packs it in a liter jar, and stretches it for a week.

From April 15, food will stop being distributed and so this woman will be left without any means for existence at all. Without the documents, she cannot receive any other assistance or payments from the state or volunteers. All of this is the consequence of the impossibility to identify her and provide the woman with a passport of a citizen of Ukraine. As it has been stated before, due to the lack of identity documents, the rights of such persons are repeatedly violated. 

In this regard, the coalition of NGOs – the authors of this report, recommend legislatively improve the rules of the procedure for establishing an identity of a person, including the procedure for issuing a passport of a citizen of Ukraine.

The alternative report itself is posted on the website of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and presented on December 15, 2020, during the public discussion of the draft state interim report on the status of implementation of recommendations received from the 3rd cycle of the UPR. 

What is the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)? Whose recommendations should the Government follow?

The UPR assesses the implementation of the human rights obligations by the States under the following instruments: 

(1) the Charter of the United Nations; 

(2) Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

(3) human rights instruments to which the State is a party (human rights treaties ratified by the State); 

(4) voluntary statements and commitments of States (including national human rights policies and/or implemented programs);  and, 

(5) international human rights instruments. The UPR is a mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council, which conducts regular reviews of the implementation of human rights commitments and responsibilities by 193 UN member states four times a year. The review is conducted by the UPR Working Group, which consists of 47 members of the Human Rights Council.

This review takes place through a three-hour interactive dialogue between the State concerned, the member countries of the Council, and the observer countries. During this discussion, any UN Member State may ask questions, express its conclusions, and/or make recommendations to the State concerned.

The last review of Ukraine’s compliance with its commitments took place in 2017, as a result of which various countries around the world provided 201 recommendations to the Government of Ukraine on overcoming certain challenges in the field of human rights. The government supported 171 of these recommendations, in other words, recognized the need to implement them. The other 30 were left without official support from Ukraine, but this does not mean that they will be ignored. 

For example, in 2012, Ukraine was recommended to ratify the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, which the Government of Ukraine simply complied with without official support. In 2013 these documents were ratified.

Thus, the Government should report in 2023 (the next review of the state of human rights in Ukraine in the framework of the UPR) if it has implemented all the recommendations received in 2017 from the other states. A positive initiative was the interim reporting of Ukraine in 2020 on the progress already made, especially since such reporting is not mandatory. This report in particular did not overlook some issues regarding the rights of these categories in the Annex to the report.

Our report assesses the implementation of some of these recommendations, as well as an assessment of the observance of the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless persons in the country as a whole. We hope that, through and independently of the UPR mechanism, the situation of these vulnerable categories will be improved by addressing current and outdated challenges.


The infographics for this review are available in Ukrainian and English.

Also read:

31.03.21
R2P LOGO ENGLISH

To the Committee

of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine 

on the law enforcement activities

Mykhaila Hrushevskoho Street, 5,

Kyiv, 01008

drapyatyi@v.rada.gov.ua 

shportko@v.rada.gov.ua 

baranets@v.rada.gov.ua

Ex.  № 134

from 05.03.2021

Proposals of the CF Right to Protection (R2P) to the draft Law on Amendments to the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses for improving the Migration legislation

 Introduction

On November 20, 2020 a Draft Law on the Amendments to the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses to Improve Migration Legislation was submitted by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

The Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P) draws the attention of the subject of the legislative initiative and legislators to the fact that the provisions of this bill affect the situation of asylum seekers in Ukraine, and therefore considers it necessary to provide an analysis of the bill in this regard.

The essence of the bill

The draft law was developed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in order to prevent and counteract illegal migration in Ukraine, ensure state security and approximate Ukrainian legislation to international standards.

It provides for the improvement of the norms of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses, which establishes the liability for violations of migration legislation.

Thus, in particular, Article 203 of the Code of Administrative Offenses is proposed in eight parts, each of which provides for different sanctions.

Regarding the imposition of an administrative penalty on asylum seekers

According to the draft Law, Part 2 of Art. 203 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of Ukraine provides for liability for stay in Ukraine without a certificate of application for protection in Ukraine in the form of a fine of one hundred to two hundred non-taxable minimum incomes (i.e., from 1700 to 3400 hryvnias).

Thus, for the first time, the project singles out a special subject of the offense – a protection seeker (person who applied for protection in Ukraine).

The procedure for applying for protection and the legal status of asylum seekers in Ukraine is regulated by the Law of Ukraine “On Refugees and Persons in Need of Additional or Temporary Protection”. 

The same law stipulates that a certificate of application for protection in Ukraine is a document certifying the legality of a person’s stay on the territory of Ukraine for the period from the moment a person applies for refugee or a person in need of additional protection until the final determination of such person’s status or until leaving the territory of Ukraine. The certificate of application for protection is not an identity document.

The treatment of refugees staying illegally in the country is regulated by Article 31 of the 1951 Refugee Convention. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), referring to this article, states that the measures taken by the state in these cases should be proportionate to the legitimate aim and applied on an individual case-by-case basis.

As stated in the Strategy of State Migration Policy of Ukraine for the period up to 2025, the policy on asylum seekers should take into account the “humanitarian component, which provides for the sympathy of government officials and other stakeholders, as well as the society.

Persons whose legality of stay in Ukraine is certified by an application for protection, usually do not speak Ukrainian, do not have legal means of self-sufficiency, are not familiar with the requirements of Ukrainian legislation on the rules of stay in Ukraine and, accordingly, need a significant period of time to integrate into the Ukrainian society. These features must be taken into account as effectiveness of legal influence on above mentioned persons is dependent on it.

One of the alternative sanctions under Art. 203 of the draft is that the initiator of the bill provides a warning. The warning in fact combines a formal condemnation of a person’s illegal behavior (an administrative offense with a minor degree of social harm) and informing the person about the inadmissibility of such behavior in the future.

Given the above, such a reaction of the state to the violation committed by the seeker of protection is optimal and proportionate to the legitimate aim in the context of further integration of this person into Ukrainian society.

Regarding the access to the Stateless Determination Procedure

On June 16, 2020, the Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Concerning Recognition as a Stateless Person” was adopted, which provides for the procedure for recognition as a stateless person in Ukraine.

According to the second paragraph of the second part of Article 4 of the Law of Ukraine “On the Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons” a person who cannot obtain a passport document due to not being considered a citizen by any state has the right to apply to the State Migration Service for recognition as a stateless person, regardless of the legality or illegality of his stay in Ukraine.

The guidance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the protection of stateless persons, noted in paragraphs 68-69, suggests that the states which introduce the Stateless Determination Procedure must ensure the actual access of such persons to the procedure for the purpose of its efficiency and fairness

It is emphasized that access to the procedure for recognition as a stateless person should be provided for every person. Achieving this goal is impossible if an undocumented person who meets the criteria of a stateless person and intends to apply for recognition as a stateless person is afraid of administrative liability for violation of the order of stay in Ukraine.  

It should be noted that persons with uncertain citizenship, who apply for legal aid to the Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P) in order to obtain citizenship and obtain a passport, report to be held administratively liable under Article 203 of the Code.

In the practice of European countries, such as France, Moldova, Switzerland, Spain, Bulgaria, there are no fines / fees for applicants for recognition as a stateless person.

Suggestions

In order to bring Article 203 of the Code of Administrative Offenses of Ukraine in accordance with the provisions of Articles 4 and 6-1 of the Law of Ukraine “On Legal Status of Foreigners and Stateless Persons” we consider it necessary to supplement part three of Article 203 of the Code, providing that this article does not apply in cases of absence of the specified documents at the person who addresses in the established order with the statement on recognition as the stateless person at the moment of the address.

In order to ensure the effectiveness of legal influence on asylum seekers, taking into account the humanitarian component, we consider it necessary to supplement the second part of Article 203 of the Code with an alternative sanction – a warning.

A Comparative table with the proposals of the Charitable Fund “Right to Protection” (R2P) is attached.

With Regards,

President

of the Charitable Fund Right to Protection(R2P)

Oleksandr Galkin

30.03.21

On Wednesday, March 24, the National Human Rights Strategy was approved by the Decree of the President of Ukraine of March 24, 2021 № 119/2021 and entered into force on this same day.

This is a strategic document, the main purpose of which is to ensure and support the human rights and freedoms of the citizens of Ukraine. This goal should be achieved, in particular, by solving the main systemic problems through supporting and protecting human rights and freedoms in the face of new challenges. The document was approved to replace the previous Strategy, which lost its relevance together with the completion of the Action Plan at the end of last year. The goals set by the Strategy should be achieved by implementing specific steps approved by the Action Plan, which will be adopted every three years.

The human rights strategy was prepared in coordination with the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine with the involvement of the civil society sector in 2020. The participation of national and international organizations, activists, experts and scholars in the process of developing the Strategy is extremely important due to the possibility of a constructive dialogue between the Government on the one hand and the public on the other.

The new Human Rights Strategy does not bypass the problem of statelessness in Ukraine.  In particular, in the context of creating a new procedure for recognition as a stateless person of Ukraine, it sets tasks and raises appropriate expectations:

  • to ensure the possibility of realization of the right to work, healthcare and social protection to those who have applied for the recognition as stateless persons;
  • to ensure access to the mechanism of recognition as a stateless person, regardless of the fact of a person’s stay in Ukraine on the legal grounds.

In order for the population of the temporarily occupied territories (TOT) to retain the citizenship of Ukraine:

  • to ensure the issuance of identity documents and proof of citizenship of persons residing in the TOT, in the manner prescribed by law at the place of application;
  • to develop and implement a single out-of-court mechanism for confirmation and state registration of civil status acts of citizens residing in the TOT.

Thus, a common understanding of the ways to solve the problem of statelessness in Ukraine and avoid the threat of statelessness for TOT residents is present in the Strategy. This is definitely a positive result of the work of the civil sector. The next step is to approve the Action Plan, which will determine the exact actions of the authorities and other actors, the use of which will lead or bring us closer to achieving these goals.

At the same time, the central executive bodies refuse to plan in the measures to identify undocumented persons, even in certain regions of the country. These measures are prescribed into the draft from the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine «On approval of the Action Plan for the implementation of the National Strategy for Human Rights for 2021-2023». The implementation of these measures was planned by the previous Action Plan for 2016 (!), But in the absence of a Stateless Determination Procedure (SDP) in Ukraine as such and were considered inappropriate at the moment.

The position of the authorities seems to be so much inconsistent that the State Migration Service of Ukraine plans to carry out explanatory work on the requirements of the legislation regarding the new Stateless Determination Procedure which will enter into the force with the Cabinet of Ministers resolution «On some issues regarding the recognition as a stateless person».

«Active actions on the part of the Government concerning documenting the stateless persons, as well as encouraging the documentation of other persons that do not have identity documents, properly informing the public about current procedures and administrative services regarding this issue should be carried out independently of plans and strategies, especially when implementing the Stateless Determination Procedure. It is impossible for Ukraine to fulfill obligations under the 1954 Convention concerning the Status of Stateless Persons if stateless persons are itself not identified within a country.»

 – said Ksenia Karahiaur, Legal Analyst at Right to Protection (R2P).

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15.03.21

Our next story is about a special category of beneficiaries. According to our monitors, the number of people who have been released from prisons (from those who regularly cross the EECPs) recently had a significant increase.

Many of these people do not have any documents, and even if they have some – those are already not valid. Without the documents the return to the usual, normal life is impossible.

The story of Oleksandr begins in the town of Khrustalny (the old name is Krasny Luch, now located in the Non-Government Controlled Area) in the Luhansk region, Ukraine.

In 1994, a man received the passport of a citizen of Ukraine. In 2012, Oleksandr went to work in Russia. One day, all his documents were stolen, including the passport. But the misfortune never comes alone… The man was sent to a penal colony in the town of Klintsy in the Bryansk region.

Work abroad, the loss of documents and imprisonment. The story of Oleksandr 1 Поїздка на заробітки, втрата документів та позбавлення волі. Історія Олександра

After being released from the colony in December 2020, the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation issued Oleksandr an identity card to return to Ukraine. Then he was deported from the Russian Federation.

Work abroad, the loss of documents and imprisonment. The story of Oleksandr Поїздка на заробітки, втрата документів та позбавлення волі. Історія Олександра

The man was returned to Stanytsia Luhanska. He had no money or documents. The identity card given by the Russian authorities was valid only until January 21, 2021. Oleksandr was left alone – without a family, without home, without hope for the future…

Being in such a difficult situation, Oleksandr did not understand who to turn to for help.  Once, while walking through the city of Stanytsia Luhanska, he saw the announcement of the Right to Protection CF from which he learned that the fund provides free legal assistance in processing and renewing the documents.

Oleksandr turned to our specialists to obtain a new passport of a citizen of Ukraine. A lawyer from the Severodonetsk office of the R2P helped Oleksandr draw up and fill in the necessary documents, as he could not write fluently in Ukrainian.

At the Novoaydar National Police Department a dactyloscopic examination for an extended request for verification of a person at the State Migration Service was conducted. Then the identification of a person was done and a fee for the production of a passport was paid.

Thanks to the highly professional and efficient work of the Migration Service, particularly the head of the Novoaidar district department of the State Migration Service of Ukraine, Oleksandr managed to register as a citizen of Ukraine without the court procedure.

As of today, it is known that the man has already married and is actively searching for a job.

UNHCR Ukraine – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ukraine


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11.03.21

Ivan was born in the late 1960s in the Donetsk region (back then – the Ukrainian SSR). There he studied at a boarding school. After graduating, Ivan entered a vocational school.

At the age of 16, Ivan received a Soviet passport, issued at the place of residence. All his life, the man lived in Ukraine with family, worked in one of the villages of Donetsk region and did not move anywhere out of Ukraine until 2002.

In 2002, as he returned back to Ukraine the need to replace a passport became urgent as the passports of citizens of Ukraine issued using the forms of the former USSR were valid only until January 1, 2005.

When the man applied to the Department of the State Migration Service for a passport of a citizen of Ukraine he was denied due to the fact that his citizenship of Ukraine could not be established. In addition, Ivan lost the original birth certificate and could not obtain it on his own due to the lack of valid documents.

Later, Ivan lost his Soviet passport.

In August 2019, Ivan applied to the office of the Right to Protection CF in the city of Slovyansk. After a detailed study of the case, the lawyer renewed the birth certificate and sent to the court a statement establishing the fact of Ivan’s permanent residence in Ukraine as of August 24, 1991 and as of November 13, 1991.

In the summer of 2020, after receiving a court decision establishing the mentioned above fact, Ivan applied to the State Migration Service department to register as a citizen of Ukraine. Due to quarantine, it took longer than usual. While waiting for a court decision, Ivan suffered a hand injury, and due to the lack of a passport he had difficulty accessing medical care.

Immediately after receiving a certificate of registration as a citizen of Ukraine, Ivan finally had the opportunity to apply for a passport of a citizen of Ukraine in January 2021. On March 3, 2021, he finally received a long-awaited passport.

From the age of 16 with a Soviet passport. The story of Ivan З 16-ти років з радянським паспортом. Історія Івана

UNHCR Ukraine – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ukraine


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04.03.21

Thousands of people living in Ukraine dream of becoming citizens. Like everyone else, they work, build relationships and families, generally make the future. Stateless persons are no different than reguar citizens. They do not differ in their language or accent, they just don’t have documentary evidence of their existence.

Such was the story of our beneficiary Olha. The woman was born in the Perm oblast in Soviet Russia. As a minor, she moved to Ukrainian SSR. The woman had a passport of a USSR citizen. She was married and had a son.

Olha lost all documents in an accident and could not recover them. She tried to obtain a passport of a citizen of Ukraine several times but failed due to a number of reasons. Olha dreamed that one day she would receive a passport of a citizen of the country where she lived a large part of her life, gave birth to a son and where she continues to work diligently.

Following the recommendation of the State Migration Service of Ukraine, with the hope of obtaining at least a birth certificate, the woman applied to the Kharkiv office of the Right to Protection CF.  After a detailed conversation with Olha, our colleagues began a hard and long work.

Thanks to the assistance of the Kholodnohirsky District Department of State Registration of Civil Status Acts of the Eastern Interregional Department of Justice of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine (in Kharkiv), Olha’s birth certificate was received from the Russian Federation within a few months.

During the conversation it turned out that Olha had already applied to the court to establish her citizenship of Ukraine. But the woman did not formulate her request to the court precisely because of lack of knowledge of legal language. As a result, the State Migration Service was unable to enforce the court decision.

Our lawyer sent a statement to the court and later received a decision with the appropriate formulation of the operative part. This helped Olha to finally apply to the State Migration Service to establish her Ukrainian citizenship.

Within a few months, Olha received a certificate of registration as a citizen of Ukraine. The woman immediately applied to the SMSU for a passport. Olha’s dream came true – she Finally received the passport of a citizen of Ukraine!

Мрія стати громадянкою України. Історія Ольги The dream to become a citizen of Ukraine. Olga's story

Now the woman’s life is completely normal. She has registered her place of residence, is officially employed and is already starting to receive congratulations on her upcoming wedding in March.

We join in with the congratulations and wish Olha further success and a happy life!

UNHCR Ukraine – United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ukraine


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