Kazakhstan Multi-Country Office
Operation: Kazakhstan Multi-Country Office
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|2020 year-end results|
|7,500||statelessness cases were resolved in Uzbekistan|
|115||households received cash assistance in Kazakhstan due to loss of jobs and income-generating activities in view of Covid-19-related restrictions|
|74||refugees in Kazakhstan obtained residence permit status|
|70||households received multipurpose cash assistance in Kazakhstan|
|20||refugees received multipurpose cash assistance in Turkmenistan|
|14||refugees received multipurpose cash assistance in Uzbekistan|
|4||refugees in Turkmenistan were legalized|
|2021 planning figures|
|100%||of targeted households will have their basic needs met through multi-purpose cash assistance|
People of Concern
Kazakhstan Multi-Country Office
Operational contextFollowing the COVID-19 outbreak, borders of all Central Asian countries were closed as of March 2020. Four countries (except for Turkmenistan) confirmed COVID-19 cases, and quarantine measures, including restriction of movement, were imposed in all countries including Turkmenistan.
The pandemic, strict lockdowns and/or travel restrictions forced UNHCR and its partners to swiftly adapt to ensure continued implementation of planned activities. COVID-19 limited the amount of in-person advocacy that UNHCR has been able to conduct and slowed work on individual casework during the first half of 2020, partly due to closure of consulates and/or much slower response on individual request for confirmation of nationality.
Population trendsKazakhstan hosted 445 refugees and 233 asylum-seekers in 2020. According to the Government, 7,999 people were registered as stateless, and a further 591 people registered with UNHCR’s legal partners as having undetermined nationality.
Turkmenistan hosted 21 mandate refugees, while no new asylum claims were recorded in 2020. According to UNHCR’s partners, there are over 3,900 stateless persons in Turkmenistan.
Uzbekistan hosted 14 mandate refugees. The Government reported that there were around 70,000 stateless persons with permanent residence in the country as of December 2020.
- Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan implemented the birth registration pledges made at the High-Level Segment on Statelessness.
- Kazakhstan approved statelessness determination procedures.
- Uzbekistan enacted a new citizenship law entitling some 50,000 stateless persons, granted permanent residence in Uzbekistan before 1 January 1995, to be recognized as citizens of Uzbekistan, while others to benefit from a simplified naturalization procedure.
- Kazakhstan approved the new rules on issuing travel documents for refugees in line with International Civil Aviation Organization standard on Machine Readable Travel Documents.
Unmet needsFunding opportunities for regular protection activities were limited. To bridge the gap, UNHCR worked closely with its NGO partners to build their fundraising potential and organizational capacity; and through expanded partnerships with Governments and United Nations agencies to advocate that refugees be included in national and local social, development and humanitarian assistance programmes.
Use of flexible funding (unearmarked or softly earmarked funding)Thanks to some USD 2.36 million flexible funding received in 2020 for MCO Kazakhstan, UNHCR was able to provide multipurpose cash assistance to 185 refugee households, including families affected by COVID-19, and legal assistance through partners to 173 refugees in Kazakhstan.
Working environmentIn Kazakhstan, there are 574 refugees and 195 asylum-seekers, predominantly from Afghanistan. Based on the past years’ trends, the number of new arrivals is expected to remain low in 2020 with up to 100 people estimated to arrive throughout the year. Majority of the new arrivals will most likely be from Afghanistan due to prevailing security situation there. It is possible that small groups may apply for asylum from neighbouring countries, if they are not able to obtain other legal status in Kazakhstan. The overall numbers of refugees will probably decrease to 450 in 2020, considering a decrease in new arrivals, low recognition rate, naturalization and acquisition of alternative legal status.
The current number of officially registered 7,156 stateless persons in Kazakhstan is likely to decrease considerably in 2020 due to the government’s efforts to facilitate naturalization of officially registered stateless persons and to adopt Statelessness Determination Procedure which will facilitate resolution for persons with undetermined nationality. In 2020, UNHCR’s NGO partners will continue to support identification and resolution for the 534 persons with undetermined nationality.
UNHCR’s key strategic partners on asylum and refugee issues will remain with the state institutions and more specifically with the Ministry of Interior, Migration Service, and justice, and border services.
Key prioritiesIn 2020, UNHCR will provide legal aid, representation and limited financial support to the vulnerable asylum-seekers and refugees through NGO partners.
On the statelessness front, UNHCR will capitalize on its global partnership with UNICEF and will actively participate in the UNDAF working groups to address the birth registration gaps in the national legislation. This also includes working closely with the state institutions and line ministries such as the president’s offices and the parliament to advocate for the improvement of the national citizenship and nationality laws and to follow up on the implementation of the pledges made at the High-Level Conference on Statelessness in Geneva in 2019.