Moldova introduces changes to nationality laws which leave children at risk of statelessness

19 Mar 2018 / Moldova / Prevention and reduction
Parliament of Moldova

In December 2017, Moldova adopted two changes (one positive and one negative) to laws concerning the prevention and reduction of statelessness.

As highlighted in the Index, universal access to birth registration in Moldova is hindered in practice by a requirement that parents must be documented to register a birth. Nevertheless, a recent legislative change will make birth registration easier for one community where children were previously at risk of remaining unregistered. Law 310, which came into force in January, recognises Transnistrian civil status acts, making it easier for parents of Transnistrian origin to register the births of their children in Moldova and for children born to Transnistrian parents to acquire Moldovan nationality.

However, at the same time, Moldova also amended its legal safeguard to prevent statelessness in the case of children born in the country. Under Law 132 of December 2017, which modified the Law on Citizenship and will come into force on 19 April 2018, there will no longer be a full safeguard to prevent children from being born stateless in Moldova. The new law makes a child's right to acquire Moldovan nationality at birth contingent on the status of the parents, which is contrary to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 1961 Convention. Children born in Moldova, whose parents are not citizens of the Republic of Moldova will now only acquire nationality if at the moment of the child's birth, at least one parent has a residence permit, international protection or is recognised as stateless. Having often been regarded as an example of international good practice in its response to statelessness, it is disappointing and concerning to see the country lower these standards on the prevention of statelessness.

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