EU and UNICEF support Kazakhstan in protecting migration-affected children's rights

20 January 2020

Nur-Sultan – Kazakhstan's Ombudsman for Human Rights with the support of the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Kazakhstan met with representatives of government, UNHCR, IOM, academic organizations and NGOs to discuss the results and further actions to protect children affected by migration, and also presented a report with recommendations for improving the system of protecting children's rights.

Children in migration processes need protection, as they often remain in a vulnerable position due to their age, lack of parental care, birth registration, and in some cases due to the lack of citizenship. In such cases, children depend on the state in protecting their rights and interests.

Joining global efforts to prevent statelessness, in November of 2019 Kazakhstan has amended its Code on Marriage and Family to ensure that all children born in the country are registered at birth and issued birth certificates, regardless of the legal status of their parents.

“We welcome Kazakhstan’s decision to amend its Code on Marriage and Family. While the lack of birth registration itself does not make children stateless, the absence of birth registration and a birth certificate can hamper the ability of people to prove their kinship and place of birth and therefore their entitlement to the nationality of any State. Children on the move need protection, quality service provision, and consideration of the best interests the child in all due procedures and policies”, - said Mr. Johannes Stenbaek Madsen, Head of Cooperation Section of the European Union Delegation to Kazakhstan.

Even though the birth registration rate for children in Kazakhstan is relatively high (almost 100 per cent), children born to undocumented migrants and people with undetermined nationality were previously not able to have their births registered.

“Every decision made on migration affects children. That is why any decision made must include an individual determination of the child’s best interests. Genuine and effective procedures should be developed and implemented to ensure that every decision concerning a child is based on comprehensive assessment and determination of the best interests of the child. If the right policies are in place, migration has a great potential to improve access to essential services both for migrants and their families and the societies they leave and join”, - said Arthur van Diesen, UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan.

During the meeting, participants also discussed the features of migration in Central Asia, situation of unaccompanied and separated children, organization of training for specialists involved in migration, amendments to legislative acts on the regulation of migration processes in Kazakhstan, and international legal regulation of migration issues.


Background information

The programme on protection of children affected by migration is funded by the European Union and implemented by UNICEF in seven countries in partnership with the governments of Bangladesh, Myanmar, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Thailand. The goal of the programme is to enhance the system for effective protection of children affected by migration. Implementation period: 2017-2021.

For more information, please contact:

Balnura Kuralova, Communications consultant on migration: +7 701 910 08 08,


Media Contacts

Balnura Kuralova

Communication for Social Change Expert

UNICEF Kazakhstan

Tel: +7 (7172) 32-28-78 (106)


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