Ukraine is party to almost all relevant international and regional instruments, including three of the core statelessness conventions. However, there are gaps in protection and efforts to prevent and reduce statelessness. Data on the stateless population is limited by discrepancies, overlapping categories, and the ongoing territorial dispute. Ukrainian law does provide for a stateless status with a right to residence, work, social security, housing, education, and healthcare. But the Ukrainian definition of a stateless person is narrower than the 1954 Convention, and there is as yet no dedicated procedure to identify and determine statelessness, despite a pledge made in 2011 to introduce one and a Bill currently before parliament. Administrative procedures are weak and legislation inconsistent, making it difficult for people to claim stateless status and documentation.
The legal framework on detention is also weak with limited protection against arbitrary detention, although alternatives to detention and periodic reviews were introduced in law in 2016. People released from detention have some protection from re-detention as well as a route to legal residence. Legal safeguards are in place to prevent statelessness in the case of foundlings, adopted children, and those born to Ukrainian nationals abroad, but there is a legal residence requirement for children born stateless in the country to acquire nationality. This gap, along with barriers to birth registration, which was the subject of a second-cycle Universal Periodic Review recommendation, hinders efforts to reduce the large in-situ stateless population in Ukraine, disproportionately made up of ethnic minorities, including Roma.
Oleksandr Snitko, Desyate Kvitnya (Tenth of April)