EU-UNICEF program helped 1,500 migrant youngsters in Kazakhstan to obtain beginning certificates

ALMATY, Kazakhstan — More than 1,000 children in migration in Kazakhstan have received support and access to educational, social and other rights thanks to the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Office joint program implemented in partnership with Commissioner for Human Rights in Kazakhstan and the Committee for Protection of Child Rights. The results of the EU-funded four-year program (2017-2022) on protection of children in migration has been presented on May 27 in Almaty, the Delegation of the European Union to Kazakhstan reported.

According to official data, more than 2 million 35 thousand foreigners entered Kazakhstan in 2020 (6,088,252 in 2019), of which 371,193 citizens were granted a temporary residence permit. They often arrive with children who need access to medicine and education, as well as protective mechanisms against exploitation, violence and detention. As of 2019, the UN estimates that there were 432,420 children born outside the country in Kazakhstan. This number may indicate a potentially large number of children who may face a variety of risks in the migration process.

“The most important result of the full four years of work was the development of a legal framework for registration of children born to mothers who do not have documents. Over the past three years, 1,500 children born in medical institutions received birth documents. This means that they will be able to attend kindergarten, school, get a certificate of secondary education, as well as have access to medical care and necessary social services. These children will not become “invisible”. Paperwork challenges are one of the most frequently encountered by migrants and their families. They lead to serious consequences for children: from the risk of being separated from their parents to criminal and administrative liability based on their migration status. UNICEF calls for ensuring that all children, regardless of their nationality, citizenship, migration status and residence status or lack thereof, have access to education, guaranteed free medical care and social services on an equal basis with children-citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan, ” said Arthur van Dusen, UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan.

He also said that the model of providing protective services developed within the framework of a four-year program under the leadership of the Committee for Protection of Child Rights was successfully tested in Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Shymkent and Turkestan region along with the NGO ” Rodnik”, “Sana Sezim” and the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law (KIBHR). As a result, 1,273 children in migration processes received protective, social, legal and psychological services at the premises of state child support centers and public organizations. UNICEF and the Commissioner for Human Rights in the Republic of Kazakhstan recommended that this practice be extended to all regions of the country.

“As a result of the programme, several important recommendations have been developed to further strengthen the system, improve services for children in migration processes and the regulatory framework. I would like to appeal to the authorized state bodies and recommend that they accept the prepared recommendations for work. I want to thank international partners for their cooperation and support and express readiness for further joint work for the benefit of every child in Kazakhstan,” said Elvira Azimova, Commissioner for Human Rights in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

“Children in migration processes are double-vulnerable: as children and as migrants. They need special attention, protection and quality service. We are glad that our partnership with UNICEF, Commissioner for Human Rights and Committee for Protection of Children Rights is producing practical results, and many children on the move are receiving additional protection. We should always give our best to children and never compromise on protection of their rights,” said Mr. Kestutis Jankauskas, Ambassador of the European Union to Kazakhstan.

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