New Exhibition Sheds Light on Plight of Stateless People
More than 35,000 people are stateless or at risk of statelessness in Ukraine. The 'Passport Photo' exhibition dedicated to stateless people opened in Kyiv
Stateless people are deprived of their basic human rights, for example, the right to be registered, and to have a birth certificate. They don’t have a right to education, medical services, marriage, employment, or even a death certificate.
The United Nations estimates that at least 10 million people around the world are stateless, one-third of them are children.
In Ukraine, there are more than 35,000 stateless people. They often live in terrible conditions and are virtually “invisible.” Most people at risk of statelessness are Roma, children born in the occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, homeless people and the elderly who still have Soviet-era passports.
The author of the photos is Alexander Chekmeniov. He traveled to the most remote parts of Ukraine to shoot “invisible people” and their daily lives. Now, this exhibition marks the fifth anniversary of the ten-year UN-launched IBelong campaign which endeavors to overcome the problem of statelessness by 2024.
“The “I belong” campaign was started by UNHCR five years ago and it is a 10-year campaign. During that campaign we are hoping to eradicate statelessness, because, believe it or not, there are more than 10 million people that don’t have a nationality. For me, it is hard to believe. So the UNHCR decided that we need to fight statelessness by first eradicating it, but also preventing stateless situations. So in the first five years, there’s been a lot of achievements. For example, many more countries have signed the two statelessness conventions. Luckily, Ukraine has signed it before the campaign started,” a UNHCR representative Pablo Mateu said.
You can see the exhibition “Passport Photo” and learn more about the people in these pictures in Kyiv until Nov. 19, in the Museum of the History of Kyiv.