Kazakhstan Multi-Country Office
Operation: Kazakhstan Multi-Country Office
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|2019 year-end results|
|100%||of people of concern had access to primary health care|
|1,700||officially registered stateless persons acquired citizenship, and nearly 400 people with undetermined nationality had citizenship of Kazakhstan or another country confirmed with the assistance of UNHCR partners|
|300||people of concern received in-kind humanitarian assistance from the Kazakh Red Crescent|
|100||vulnerable refugee and asylum-seeker households received cash assistance|
|100||people of concern were assisted by UNHCR partners to access health services, either receiving counselling on access to health care or receiving support to access medical treatment not covered by insurance|
|50||prefabricated housing units (PHUs) were donated to the Kazakh Red Crescent|
|900||stateless persons were granted the citizenship of Turkmenistan, and 11 people with undetermined nationality had the citizenship of another country confirmed with the assistance of UNHCR partners|
|1||refugee and 1 other person of concern were naturalized in Turkmenistan|
|6,300||cases of statelessness were resolved in Uzbekistan|
|2020 planning figures|
|85%||of targeted households will have their basic needs met with multi-purpose cash grants|
|700||persons with undetermined nationality will be assisted with confirmation of nationality|
People of Concern
Kazakhstan Multi-Country Office
Operational contextUNHCR worked with government and non-governmental partners in the region, with a view to strengthening legislative and administrative frameworks in the areas of refugee protection and statelessness. All Central Asian Governments made concerted efforts to resolve and prevent statelessness in 2019.
Kazakhstan hosted some 500 refugees and 200 asylum-seekers in 2019. The number of new asylum-seekers (mostly from Afghanistan) increased by 37% compared to 2018. Three refugees chose to return to their countries of origin. More than 7,400 people were registered as stateless according to the Government, and a further 1,000 people registered with UNHCR’s legal partners as having undetermined nationality.
Turkmenistan was host to just over 20 refugees, and no new asylum claims were recorded in 2019. According to UNHCR’s partners, over 2,000 people were stateless, and some 1,600 people were of undetermined nationality.
Uzbekistan hosted 14 mandate refugees. The Government reported that there were over 97,300 stateless persons with permanent residence in the country as of December 2019. In 2019, some 6,300 stateless persons were granted citizenship.
- Following UNHCR’s advocacy, the Government waived existing legal restrictions to facilitate refugees’ access to permanent residency, an important step towards naturalization.
- The Government amended national legislation to ensure birth registration for all children born in the country, regardless of their parents’ legal status.
- UNHCR partners assisted two refugees to obtain citizenship and nearly 40 refugees to obtain permanent residency.
- The Kazakh National University included a refugee law course in the curriculum of the masters’ degree in international law.
- The President of Turkmenistan issued a decree granting nationality to nearly 900 people and formally endorsed the national action plan to end statelessness (2019-2024).
- Government officials participated in a workshop on emergency preparedness and response for refugee influx organized by UNHCR in Ashgabat.
A first technical meeting on statelessness was held with key line ministries, leading to updated statistical information on statelessness and the drafting of a progressive new law citizenship law that will recognize some 50,000 stateless persons as citizens of Uzbekistan and streamline citizenship acquisition for other groups.
Unmet needsThe Office was unable to maintain, update and enhance protection advocacy due to insufficient funding and capacity.
Funding opportunities for regular protection activities were also 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 government and United Nations agencies to advocate that refugees be included in national and local social and humanitarian assistance programmes.
Operational EnvironmentIn Kazakhstan, no significant changes in the operational environment for UNHCR are foreseen in 2019, and the political and socio-economic environment is expected to remain stable. The decisions on the asylum cases will continue to be dominated by security and political concerns. UNHCR expects increased engagement of the Government in the eradication and prevention of statelessness. UNHCR will continue promoting the inclusion of refugees and stateless persons in national programmes and policies, including through participation in the working groups on Sustainable Development Goals and UN Partnership Framework for Development. In 2018, Kazakhstan contributed USD 100,000 to UNHCR for activities in the country, its largest contribution yet made to UNHCR in a single year.
UNHCR will continue protection outreach in Kazakhstan through its legal partners in 2019. Partners will provide legal representation to registered asylum-seekers and refugees in the country. UNHCR will engage with State authorities using evidence-based advocacy while promoting improvements in the asylum system through timely and time-bound support, preferably in the form of quality assurance methodologies that will tap into State priorities. Social and humanitarian assistance will be mainstreamed in State-run social assistance structures or by NGO partners using other funding sources to enhance sustainability. The UN Partnership Framework for Development (PFD) for 2016-2020 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) will be an important platform for further reinforcement of interaction and operational partnership with both the Government and UN Agencies. In line with the UNHCR-UNICEF Joint Strategy under the Global Coalition on Every Child's Right to a Nationality, UNHCR and UNICEF will jointly advocate for amendment of national legal framework to include safeguards to prevent statelessness amongst children and ensure that all children are registered at birth regardless of the legal status of their parents.
Key prioritiesIn 2019, UNHCR will focus on:
- Eradication and prevention of statelessness in partnership with other stakeholders – Government and non-government partners;
- Achieving sustainable asylum systems through strengthened partnerships with state institutions.