Ukraine is State Party to almost all relevant international and regional instruments, including three of the core statelessness conventions. However, there are some gaps in protection as well as efforts to prevent and reduce statelessness. Data on the stateless population is limited by discrepancies, overlapping categories, and the impact of the war and ongoing territorial disputes. Positively, a Statelessness Determination Procedure was introduced in Ukrainian law in 2020 and bylaws for its implementation were adopted in 2021, making the procedure available for stateless people since May 2021. The 2020 law also brought the definition of a stateless person in line with the 1954 Convention. Under the 2020 law, an applicant for statelessness status has temporary status during the procedure enabling access to some rights. Recognised stateless people are able to acquire a temporary residence permit, and then permanent residence after two years. While it is welcome that the SDP is now operational, many obstacles related to access to the procedure have been reported.
The legal framework on detention is weak with limited protection against arbitrary detention, although alternatives to detention and periodic reviews were introduced in 2016. People released from detention have some protection from re-detention as well as a route to legal residence.
People recognised as stateless may apply for naturalisation three years after their recognition as stateless. 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. The escalation of the war since February 2022 has exacerbated barriers to accessing rights and protection for stateless people and people at risk of statelessness both in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries.
Oleksandr Snitko, Desyate Kvitnya (Tenth of April)