PANAMA, 6 August 2019 - UNICEF welcomes the decision of the Government of Colombia to grant Colombian nationality to more than 24,000 children born to Venezuelan parents who have been in the country since August 2015. This decision is an essential guarantor of children’s rights and will help to mitigate the risks associated with statelessness.
The exceptional and temporary administrative measure allows children born in Colombia to Venezuelan parents since August 19, 2015 to have Colombian nationality listed in their Civil Birth Registry.
“This measure sets a strong example in guaranteeing the rights of uprooted children and we salute it as a milestone in the prevention of statelessness for children worldwide,” said María Cristina Perceval, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. "We encourage other countries in the region supporting children and families from Venezuela, to continue taking measures that guarantee the rights and integral protection of migrant children and their families," she added.
The Resolution of the National Registry also establishes that as of 19 August, children born in Colombia to Venezuelan parents will be registered in the Civil Registry with the Colombian nationality for a period of two year (until 2021 August).
Statelessness affects millions of people in the world. In 78 countries, about 4 million stateless persons have been identified who, having no recognition or protection from any country, are at risk of discrimination, abuse and limited access to essential services including healthcare education and civic participation.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Colombia in 1991, provides that ‘The child will be registered immediately after his/her birth and will be entitled since born to a name, to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, to meet their parents and be cared for by them.’
At the request of the Government of Colombia, UNICEF is working jointly with UNHCR and IOM to support the National Registry of Civil Status to implement the new measure.
Today’s announcement moves Colombia into compliance with the Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons of 1954 and the Convention of 1961 for the reduction of statelessness cases, which establish obligations to prevent and eradicate statelessness, including the right of every child to acquire a nationality at birth.