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Stateless individuals and refugees fleeing Ukraine


Chris Nash,
Director of the European Community on Statelessness*

*Reblogged from the Community web site

Because the variety of refugees fleeing
Ukraine nears two million, we and our members on the bottom have been
mobilising to attempt to get a deal with on the actual safety wants of
stateless individuals forcibly displaced by the disaster.

We all know from previous expertise,
together with analysis below our Stateless Journeys initiative, that stateless individuals
fleeing battle sometimes face extra points and challenges crossing
borders and accessing safety. We additionally know that statelessness is each a
trigger and a consequence of compelled displacement.

Upon listening to anecdotal reviews of
difficulties skilled by stateless individuals attempting to flee the conflict in
Ukraine, we wished to raised perceive the state of affairs as rapidly as doable.
This week we now have revealed an preliminary briefing to
assist inform refugee response actors on the bottom in order that issues can
hopefully be anticipated and addressed earlier than they change into entrenched.

Statelessness in Ukraine

The final census in Ukraine in 2001
recorded 82,550 stateless individuals, and UNHCR
 there to be 35,875stateless and folks with ‘undetermined
nationality’ in 2021. Different sources counsel there may very well be many tens of
1000’s extra together with a big proportion of the Roma inhabitants as
properly as kids born in Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk since 2014. The World Financial institution
lately estimated
 there to be 999,000 individuals aged over 15 in Ukraine
and not using a nationwide ID card. Though not all of those people will probably be
stateless, many will probably be at elevated threat of changing into so if the disaster turns into
extra protracted.

It’s estimated that 10-20% of
Romani individuals in Ukraine lack the civil documentation wanted to amass or
affirm their Ukrainian citizenship. Different profiles of stateless individuals embrace
former residents of the USSR who had been unable to exhibit everlasting residence
in Ukraine in 1991 and so couldn’t purchase Ukrainian nationality. Some, who
have been unable to amass any nationality, have since handed their statelessness
on to their kids. Folks dwelling in non-Authorities managed areas, Crimea,
and people internally displaced in Ukraine have confronted important limitations to
acquiring or renewing private paperwork since 2014, leaving an estimated
60,000 kids born in these areas with out delivery certificates and vulnerable to

Along with these important
in-situ stateless populations, there are asylum-seekers, refugees, and migrants
(and their kids) who had been residing in Ukraine and had been stateless earlier than
leaving their nations of origin (e.g., Palestinians, Kuwaiti Bidoon, Kurds);
or who could have since change into stateless on account of displacement, discrimination or
gaps in nationality legal guidelines, State succession, or deprivation of nationality

In Could 2021, Ukraine launched a
statelessness dedication process to find out who’s stateless on its
territory and grant safety to stateless individuals, however this solely lately
grew to become operational, and by 31 December 2021 solely 55 individuals had been granted a
non permanent residence allow by means of the process. The overwhelming majority of
stateless individuals dwelling in Ukraine will lack any documentation proving that
they’re stateless. This not solely poses insurmountable limitations for stateless
individuals attempting to maneuver inside Ukraine given present circumstances, but in addition
considerably impacts on their potential to maneuver to relative security throughout the
nation, cross borders, and entry safety.

Present state of affairs at Ukraine’s Western borders

The preliminary response of Ukraine’s
western neighbours has been beneficiant, with each authorities actors and civil
society doing their utmost to welcome and obtain unprecedented numbers of
refugees. HungarySlovakiaPolandRomania, and Moldova have all said
that they’re presently admitting everybody fleeing the conflict in Ukraine,
together with stateless individuals, these vulnerable to statelessness and/or undocumented
individuals. A short abstract of insurance policies in every of those nations is offered in
our briefing.

Nonetheless, the image is
fast-moving and there’s a want for vigilant monitoring given rising proof
of inconsistent practices and racial profiling at totally different border crossings
(e.g., in Hungary and Poland) with non-Ukrainians dealing with limitations to accessing
the territory, or extra ‘secondary screening’ procedures, together with in
detention-like situations in Poland.

Equally, early data from
ENS members means that stateless individuals and people vulnerable to statelessness
fleeing Ukraine are more likely to face extra limitations and differential
remedy relying on their residence, nationality, and/or documentation
standing. Extra time and additional analysis are wanted to grasp the detailed
image by way of how totally different profiles of stateless individuals are more likely to be

Software of the EU Short-term Safety Directive and safety
owed to stateless individuals

An enormous query mark in regards to the
stage of safety more likely to be obtainable to stateless refugees from Ukraine
centres round how the EU Short-term Safety Directive (TPD) will probably be
utilized by totally different nations.

The Directive, invoked by EU
Member States on March 4, grants rapid safety within the EU (aside from
Denmark) to Ukrainian nationals and people who had worldwide safety in
Ukraine previous to 24 February 2022. Stateless individuals who can show they held a
everlasting residence allow in Ukraine earlier than 24 February and ‘can’t safely
return to their nation or area of origin’, are additionally entitled to non permanent
safety, however Member States can select whether or not to use the TPD or ‘ample
safety below nationwide regulation’. Member States may additionally prolong non permanent
safety to others, together with stateless individuals who had been ‘residing legally’
in Ukraine. Folks granted non permanent safety are entitled to a residence
allow (initially for one yr, extendable as much as three years until secure return
is feasible), entry to the labour market, housing, social welfare, medical care,
and entry to schooling for kids.

EU Member States should not
presently required below EU regulation to increase non permanent safety to most
stateless individuals and people vulnerable to statelessness who’re/had been dwelling in
Ukraine. Folks with out proof of everlasting residence or worldwide
safety in Ukraine might have to use for asylum or one other type of
safety in accordance with the legal guidelines of their host nation. This might pose critical
points by way of their entry to rights and providers and their potential to acquire
safety, if denied entry to asylum procedures (e.g. as is the case in
Hungary), or, for instance, if Ukraine was disputed as their nation of origin.
So, even when capable of escape Ukraine, stateless individuals are at specific threat of
subsequently discovering themselves excluded or left in limbo, and, in some instances,
additionally vulnerable to arbitrary detention.

This in flip highlights the necessity
for better consciousness of the rights owed to stateless individuals below
worldwide regulation. Nearly all European States are Celebration to the 1954 Conference
on the Standing of Stateless Individuals and so should afford particular rights and
protections to stateless individuals on their territory. Some nations have
established a statelessness dedication process to find out who’s due
safety below the 1954 Conference and grant safety standing or a residence
allow to recognised stateless individuals (aside from refugee standing or one other
type of worldwide safety). In different nations, stateless individuals could
entry one other type of safety or regularise their keep by means of different
routes. The
state of affairs by way of entry to safety for stateless individuals in nations
throughout Europe is in no way uniform
. Our Statelessness Index serves as a
software to assist stateless individuals and their authorized representatives to grasp and
advocate for his or her rights.

The way in which ahead – addressing statelessness as a part of the growing
refugee response

Our briefing makes a sequence of
suggestions to the EU, European States, worldwide businesses and NGOs to
make sure that stateless individuals from Ukraine can entry safety in keeping with
worldwide regulation.

Before everything, EU
Member States ought to use their discretion below the TPD to increase non permanent
safety to all stateless individuals and people vulnerable to statelessness
no matter prior residence standing in Ukraine, or a minimum of guarantee entry to
equal types of safety below nationwide regulation. Linked to this, it’s
important that lack of id paperwork or different documentation doesn’t
forestall stateless individuals and folks vulnerable to statelessness from accessing
worldwide safety or different types of safety below nationwide regulation.

The place entry to non permanent
safety is just not obtainable, European States ought to guarantee routes to
safety and rights for stateless individuals on their territory in keeping with
their obligations below the 1954 Statelessness Conference, in addition to implement
safeguards to stop arbitrary detention.

Crucial to this, will probably be enhancing
the power of border officers and refugee response actors to correctly
determine statelessness and threat of statelessness amongst these displaced
from Ukraine in order to make sure their entry to safety, together with authorized recommendation
and different providers. There may be an pressing want to enhance the supply of
disaggregated knowledge, utilizing standardised tips and evaluation instruments at
registration factors, in safety procedures, and through authorized counselling.

Coaching will even be key, and
right here there’s a function for a number of actors, together with UNHCR, the EU Asylum Company,
and NGOs and civil society consultants. The EU Asylum Company lately revealed
Registration Software that has a bit on figuring out
statelessness, which may very well be helpful on this context. We’re additionally within the
technique of growing a extra intensive statelessness identification software, which
we are going to make obtainable to all actors within the subsequent few months.

Lastly, reviews on the bottom
counsel an necessary want for refugee response actors to determine and
monitor statelessness and threat of statelessness amongst unaccompanied and
separated kids, in addition to kids born in transit and host nations, to
guarantee their proper to a delivery certificates, authorized id, and nationality is
assured. That is more likely to change into much more acute if the battle and
associated displacement turns into extra protracted. UNICEF and different youngster rights
organisations could have a key function to play on this regard.

Subsequent steps and looking out past the battle

Over the approaching weeks and months,
we are going to proceed to observe the state of affairs, in addition to search to replace and increase
the scope of knowledge obtainable, together with to grasp how the Short-term
Safety Directive is being carried out for stateless refugees displaced
additional throughout Europe. We will even discover different methods to help our members
working tirelessly on the bottom, together with by attempting to have interaction the donor
neighborhood to help their efforts and to fund focused help for
stateless individuals who in any other case discover themselves excluded from Europe’s refugee

Equally, there may be nonetheless quite a bit we
have no idea in regards to the state of affairs dealing with stateless individuals inside Ukraine. We all know
from our Ukrainian member organisations working bravely and tirelessly inside
the nation that stateless individuals with out documentation are unable to maneuver
internally or throughout checkpoints, so discover themselves trapped. There have additionally
been disturbing reviews of racial discrimination, antigypsyism, and/or
differential remedy based mostly on documentation standing at Ukrainian borders,
which can be stopping some stateless/individuals vulnerable to statelessness from
leaving Ukraine. Extra analysis is required to raised perceive and attempt to
deal with this case.

Lastly, if we permit ourselves to
attempt to be optimistic in wanting past this unspeakably terrible battle, there
will probably be a important want to deal with authorized id, documentation, and
nationality points as a part of re-building efforts. The present state of affairs is a
sobering reminder of how stateless individuals routinely endure from being forgotten
and their wants ignored, particularly in occasions of battle. We can’t permit this
to occur, and we and our members stand able to work with all actors to protect
towards this.

Photograph: Mirek
Pruchnicki, Artistic Commons



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