Statelessness is a multifaceted problem. Even people who are legally citizens of Ukraine have no opportunity to practically exercise most of their rights without documents.
We have repeatedly told the stories of people who failed to replace Soviet passports, or were simply not issued a passport for some other reason. The story below is about the importance of timely updating the documents, because a passport with outdated information is not considered valid. Sometimes however as in such a situation, it is simply not possible to timely update the documents.
Our beneficiary Natalia was born in Shakhtarsk, Donetsk region of Ukraine. There she married and had a child. After marriage, she changed her last name, but she never managed to get a passport with a new last name. The conflict in eastern Ukraine, which began shortly thereafter shifted all the plans. Despite her young age (Natalia was only 22 at the time), she had to move to Russian Federation.
In 2020, the girl was finally able to return to Ukraine. She really wanted to see her family. However, updates to the passport were needed in order to be able to enter Non-Government Controlled Areas.
After applying to the State Migration Service of Ukraine to exchange her passport in connection with the change of surname, Natalia was refused due to lack of documents. In fact, the only passport she left with was marked as «subject to exchange».
Not having the confidence and understanding how to solve such a difficult issue, Natalia turned to the Right to Protection CF for help. The time was short. Back then the girl lived with people who were not indifferent to her situation and helped her out of pity. But the problem was that at any moment she could have been asked to leave the house where she temporarily lived. There was a risk of being left without housing and livelihood at all.
«Above all, I dream to see my family!»– said Natalia.
The Fund’s lawyers analyzed the documents which the beneficiary had and made appropriate requests for additional information. Subsequently, a birth certificate and a marriage certificate were obtained. Eventually, Natalia replaced her passport. Her dream to see the family has finally come true!
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ukraine