Praxis Watch

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Isa Is a Face of Statelessness

Isa was born in Kosovo. He fled to Belgrade following the 1999 conflict, but because he didn’t have any papers proving his identity, was never registered as an internally displaced person.
His very first document, his birth certificate, was issued in 2013 when he was 29. This was only possible due to a new procedure  introduced in 2012. Up till then Isa lived a life of an invisible. He did not attend school, he did not have health insurance and the only pieces of evidence about his residence are the statements of his common-law spouse and his neighbours.

However, despite managing to register his birth into birth registry, Isa remains stateless without a nationality. He cannot “inherit” his father’s nationality since his father doesn’t have any (his father was born in Macedonia and lived in Kosovo since the 1980s, but has never had his nationality officially registered) or his mother’s (she left Isa when he was only two weeks old and Isa doesn’t know if she held any nationality at the moment of his birth). Without nationality, Isa remains deprived of rights and services.

Serbia currently lacks a procedure to recognise Isa’s statelessness and regularise his status. Meanwhile, the only option open to Isa now is to try to acquire Serbian nationality through the naturalization procedure. Unfortunately, the outcome of the procedure remains uncertain because Isa cannot provide any written proof of his residence, which is one of the legal requirements. So he remains stuck in a vicious circle and facing a life in limbo.

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