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Conference to Reduce and Prevent Statelessness

Regional Conference to Reduce and Prevent Statelessness in Central Asia 9-12 December 2009 Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in cooperation with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Centre in Ashgabat, is hosting a two-day conference on the topic of statelessness in Central Asia, where the dissolution of the Soviet Union and civil conflict have left thousands of people without a determined nationality.

International law defines a stateless person as someone who is not considered a national by any State under the operation of its law. Without the right of a nationality, stateless people are often denied a broad range of other rights.

According to official figures, there are about 40,000 stateless people or those without a determined nationality in Central Asia, though there are likely to be thousands more as many people are yet to be identified and documented.

The regional conference in Ashgabat follows a series of national workshops in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, and seeks to galvanise a collective response to statelessness in the region. Conference participants include high level representatives from the governments of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, representatives of local NGOs and international experts on statelessness from UNHCR A representative from Slovakia will also speak on how the issue was addressed in that country.

Media arrangements:

The opening ceremony at 10am on Wednesday 9 December will be open to the registered media. Speakers will include representatives from UNHCR, the OSCE and the Government of Turkmenistan. To register, please contact UNHCR at contacts below.

A question and answer session for journalists will be organised on the second day (Thursday 10 December) at a time to be confirmed. UNHCR can facilitate interviews with key speakers in English or Russian by phone during the conference for those journalists not in Ashgabat.

ENDS

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