Comment “Governments should act in the best interest of stateless children” (excerpts), 2013

Another significant population of stateless children lives in Latvia and Estonia. Legislation in Latvia grants a special status to 304,000 “non-citizens” while Estonia has some 92,000 “aliens” or “persons of undetermined citizenship”. Among them, at the end of 2011, there were about 1,500 stateless children under the age of 15 in Estonia and approximately 9,000 in Latvia. While parents have the right to register these children as citizens, many do not, either because they are unaware of this opportunity or are so alienated that they opt to leave their children stateless. The Estonian and Latvian governments have allowed this situation to persist, permitting parents to choose a status that is not in the best interests of the child.

(..) States should grant citizenship automatically at birth to children born in their territory who would otherwise be stateless and not permit parents to choose an option that is clearly not in the child’s interest. (..)

Governments should stop foisting the blame on history, other states or on “irresponsible parents,” but rather take the initiative to address statelessness and prioritise the best interests of the child.

Document data: 15.01.2013 Link: (also avaiulable in Latvian and Russian)

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