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UN Convention on Reduction of Statelessness – Ukraine

January 13, 2013

Well amongst the issues that passed favourably through the RADA this week (including this one which I mentioned not long ago) – Ukraine voted to accede to the UN Convention on Reduction of Statelessness (Circa 1961) – better late than never.

The RADA also voted in favour of accession to the Convention relating to the ability for stateless persons to work (and be taxed), as well as laws against discrimination of matters relating to citizenship.

So why now?  A victory for human rights and a gesture of goodwill by Ukraine towards human rights?

Naturally not.  Well not entirely.

Serghiy Chernykh, First Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Interior was quick to make clear that the Convention is a key international instrument and acceding to it will release funds for the prevention of statelessness.  At present, the number of people this affects is approximately 46,615 people within Ukraine according to the latest UNHCR figures (2012).

Being cynical, I will assume that the funds released by this accession are far greater than the administrative costs of knocking up a Ukrainian passport or permanent residency card and a Tax ID, plus any citizen entitlement legacy on Ukraine thereafter by way of support.

It will be interesting to see if the UNHCR figures begin to show a drop in stateless persons within Ukraine over the next few years (discounting a sudden influx of stateless people to distort matters) given that funding (and not principle or ideology) to help address this issue seems to have been the driver behind this human rights leap by Ukraine.

How I wish I could believe that this was done for all the right reasons and that the stateless in Ukraine will benefit –  rather than a way to get external funds into Ukraine by hook or by crook!

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