In the framework of the Presidency of North Macedonia with the OSCE, a regional conference on “Statelessness in Southeast Europe” was held in Skopje, reports Anadolu.
The organizers of the conference were the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the OSCE Mission in Skopje, the OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). .
At the opening of the conference, speeches were made by the chairman of the OSCE, at the same time the foreign minister of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani; Assistant High Commissioner for Protection at UNHCR, Gillian Triggs; OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities, Kairat Abdrakhmanov; the director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Matteo Mecacci and the head of the OSCE Mission in Skopje, Kilian Wahl.
In a statement to the media, Minister Osmani said that the purpose of this conference is to address the phenomenon of stateless persons, whose number, according to him, is in the millions in the world and they are denied basic rights.
“Given that North Macedonia has only in the last year made amendments to the law to enable a systemic solution to the issue of people who are stateless or stateless, our ambition is to be the first country in Europe that will not have no citizen of his own without citizenship”, Osmani said.
The representative of the UNHCR, Gillian Triggs, said that the right to citizenship is a fundamental right and key to the possession of other rights, adding that to end statelessness, continued political will is necessary.
“The consequences are severe for individuals and families if they do not have citizenship and this affects the whole society. When a segment of society is deprived of opportunities to contribute, this usually has a negative impact on the social and economic development of that country. Therefore, I welcome continued engagement of governments in this region, very real progress has been made,” said Triggs.
The head of the OSCE Mission in Skopje, Kilian Wahl spoke about the importance of the conference and welcomed North Macedonia’s commitment to eliminating statelessness.
“When I took office 10 months ago, there were approximately 700 unregistered people. But today, as of this morning, the numbers dropped to 216. I hope and believe that with continued political will and commitment, we will be able to reduce those numbers to zero by the end of this year,” Wahl said.
The national authorities and civil society representatives from North Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia were present at the conference.
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