EU, UNICEF and the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights conclude a four-year program to expand migrant children’s access to education and social services

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NUR-SULTAN – 1,273 children received birth certificates and were able to access educational and social services under the project for the protection of children in migration processes implemented by the European Union (EU) and the office of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in partnership with the Commissioner for Human Rights of Kazakhstan and the Committee for the Protection of the Rights of the Child.

In November 2019, Kazakhstan amended its Marriage and Family Code to ensure that all children born in the country are registered at birth and receive a birth certificate, regardless of the legal status of their parents. Photo credit: UNICEF/2018/Valera Kaliev

The results of the four-year multi-country program designed to ensure effective support and protection of children’s rights in migration processes were presented on May 27 in Almaty.

“The most important result of these four full years of work has been the development of a legal framework for the registration of children born to undocumented mothers. Over the past three years, 1,500 children born in medical institutions have received birth certificates. This means that they will be able to attend kindergarten, school, obtain a secondary school certificate, as well as have access to necessary medical care and social services. These children will not become “invisible”, said Arthur van Diesen, UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan.

Participants of the conference in Almaty. Photo credit: Website of the Commissioner for Human Rights

According to official data, more than 2.035 million people entered Kazakhstan in 2021, compared to 6 million in 2020. The most vulnerable in this migration process are children.

UN data indicates that in 2019, 432,420 foreign-born children lived in Kazakhstan. Some of them do not have birth documents, which deprives them of access to education and social services, which are particularly common among preschool children.

“Issues related to paperwork are among the most frequently encountered by migrants and their families. They entail serious consequences for children: from the risk of being separated from their parents to criminal and administrative liability based on their migration status,” said Arthur van Diesen.

The program trained specialists working with migrant children, handled complex cases of children in migration processes that required the involvement of representatives from different departments, and saw the opening of child-friendly rooms for migrant children. in Nur-Sultan and Almaty in the premises of help and adaptation centers for children.

The program will send its recommendations to the government, including ensuring that all children, regardless of their nationality, citizenship, migration status and residency status or not, have access to early development services, education , health care, social protection on an equal footing with child citizens of Kazakhstan, spreading the practice of providing protection services to children in migration processes based on the tested model with the support of UNICEF in Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Shymkent and Turkistan, consider the possibility of introducing a ban on the placement of children in closed institutions and child support centers, solely on the basis of their migration status, and consider the inadmissibility of the detention and prosecution of children aged 16 and over for violation of migration laws.

“[as a result of the program], practical assistance was provided to children to ensure their safety and exclusion from victimization. We suggest that authorized public bodies study the recommendations and take measures to protect children who are in the process of migration between regions and who enter the country. We express our willingness to continue working together for the benefit of every child in Kazakhstan,” said Kazakhstan’s Human Rights Commissioner Elvira Azimova.

According to Kestutis Jankauskas, European Union Ambassador to Kazakhstan, children in migration processes are doubly vulnerable as children and as migrants.

“They need special attention, protection and quality services. We are pleased that our partnership with UNICEF, the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Committee for the Protection of the Rights of the Child is yielding concrete results and that many children in the process of migration are benefiting from additional protection. . We must always do everything we can for children and never compromise to protect their rights,” he said.

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