Russian Federation accepts UPR recommendations on statelessness

24 September 2018

Anti-Discrimination Centre Memorial (ADC Memorial), the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (ISI) and the European Network on Statelessness (ENS) today welcomed the Russian Federation’s acceptance of recommendations on statelessness made to it by other states at under the recently concluded Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which if implemented will lead to concrete steps to improve the situation of stateless people in the country.

UPR is a mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council which periodically examines the human rights performance of individual Member States. Russian Government responded to the recommendations made by other Member states at the 39th UPR session which is taking place in Geneva between and will conclude on 28 September 2018.

Previously the issue of statelessness was highlighted in a joint submission by ISI, ENS and ADC Memorial to the UPR in May 2018, which outlined concerns regarding the treatment of stateless people and, in particular, the prolonged detention of those stateless individuals deemed to have violated migration rules.

Above all the organisations welcomed the fact that the Russian government supported the following recommendations:

  • Consider ratifying the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons as well as the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (Burkina Faso).
  • Take additional measures to decrease statelessness among representatives of minority groups (Serbia).
  • Strengthen the implementation of policies to reduce the number of unregistered persons, specially statelessness persons, refugees, holders of temporary residence permit and individuals belonging to certain minority groups (Angola).
  • Step up efforts to end statelessness, especially by establishing safeguards to guarantee birth registration to all children born in the country, including stateless children and those belonging to minority groups (Thailand).

The declaration made by the Russian government should now be implemented through concrete steps, such as adoption and implementation of relevant amendments to migration legislation to legalise the status of a large number of former Soviet citizens living in Russia, and documentation of stateless people.

ISI Co-Director Amal de Chickara said,

“We thank all states that made strong recommendations on statelessness to Russia and welcome’s Russia’s response. We now call on Russian authorities to take the next important step of fully implementing these recommendations, and call on the Human Rights Council and Member States to monitor implementation to ensure compliance.”

Chris Nash, the Director of the European Network on Statelessness said:

“Stateless people are often deprived of their liberty simply because they don’t have a nationality. Thousands of stateless people living in Russia are held in detention in atrocious conditions without the prospect of their cases being resolved. Implementing these recommendations should provide some safeguards in preventing their unnecessary and arbitrary detention. We urge Russia to go further and to completely stop detention of stateless people by putting in place procedures to identify people without a nationality so that they don’t end up locked up in limbo.”

Stefania Kulaeva, head of ADC Memorial added:

“Particular attention should be paid to the situation of vulnerable groups who used to suffer from problems with citizenship and documentation, including Roma people who often face difficulties in obtainment personal documents”.


For further comment and information please contact Olga Abramenko, ADC Memorial, olga@adcmemorial.org or Jan Brulc, European Network on Statelessness, jan.brulc@statelessness.eu or call +44 7522 525673, or Amal de Chickera, Co Director ISI: Amal.dechickera@institutesi.org.


  1. A stateless person is someone who has no nationality. Statelessness is a legal anomaly that affects over half a million people in Europe (including Russia) – both recent migrants and those who have lived in the same place for generations – denying many their fundamental rights.
  1. This submission to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in relation to statelessness in Russian Federation submitted by the Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, the European Network on Statelessness and Anti-Discrimination Centre Memorial is available online at http://www.institutesi.org/UPR30_Russia.pdf
  1. Anti-Discrimination Centre (ADC) Memorial is a Human Rights NGO defending the rights of vulnerable groups (such as representatives of ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples, migrants, stateless persons, LGBTI persons and others) in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, through national and international advocacy, strategic litigation and education/information work. A number of strategic cases relevant to statelessness were won with the financial support and expertise of ADC Memorial; among them the ECHR case “Kim vs Russia” (2014) and the case of Noe Mskhiladze in the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation (2017). ADC Memorial has prepared a number of analytical Human Rights reports on the problem of statelessness and raised this issue in alternative reports to UN Treaty Bodies. ADC Memorial is a member of the European Network of Statelessness. For more information about the work of ADC Memorial, please visit its website: adcmemorial.org
  1. ISI is an independent non-profit organisation committed to an integrated, human rights based response to the injustice of statelessness and exclusion through a combination of research, education, partnerships and advocacy. Established in August 2014, it is the first and only global centre committed to promoting the human rights of stateless persons and ending statelessness. Over the past two years, the Institute has made over 20 country specific UPR submissions on the human rights of stateless persons, and also compiled summaries of the key human rights challenges related to statelessness in all countries under review under the 23rd to the 28th UPR Sessions. For more information on the Institute’s UPR advocacy, see http://www.statelessnessandhumanrights.org/upr-universal-periodic-review/resources-database.
  1. The European Network on Statelessness (ENS) is a civil society alliance of NGOs, lawyers, academics, and other independent experts committed to addressing statelessness in Europe. Based in London, it currently has over 100 members in 40 European countries. ENS organises its work around three pillars – law and policy, communications and capacity-building. The Network provides expert advice and support to a range of stakeholders, including governments. For more information about ENS, please visit its website: www.statelessness.eu
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