Article 17 – Right of children and young persons to social, legal and economic protection
Paragraph 1 – Assistance, education and training
The Committee takes note of the information contained in the report submitted by Estonia.
The legal status of the child
The Committee has noted with concern the increasing number of children in Europe registered as stateless, as this will have a serious impact on those children’s access to basic rights and services such as education and healthcare.
According to EUROSTAT in 2015 there were 6,395 first time asylum applications in the EU by children recorded as stateless and 7,620 by children with an unknown nationality. This figure only concerns EU states and does not include children born stateless in Europe or those who have not sought asylum. In 2015, UNHCR estimated the total number of stateless persons in Europe at 592,151 individuals.
According to Human Rights Watch [It’s time to end Child Statelessness in Estonia] in January 2016, about 6.1% of Estonia’s population of 1.3 million was stateless – that is, 79,300 people. Despite a few advances in reducing child statelessness since then, Estonia has not fully addressed the problem.
In addition, the Committee notes from the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Children on the combined second to fourth periodic report [CRC/C/EST/CO/2-4, March 2017] that amendments to the 2015 Citizenship Law grant Estonian citizenship to children with undetermined citizenship born in the State. However, the UN Committee expressed concern that these amendments do not apply to children aged 15 to 18, and limited attention is paid to stateless children who arrive in the country in the context of migration, partly because of the absence of a comprehensive procedure to determine if a person is stateless.
Therefore, the Committee asks what measures have been taken by the State to reduce statelessness (such as ensuring that every stateless migrant child is identified, simplifying procedures for obtaining nationality, and taking measures to identify children unregistered at birth)
Document data: conclusions XXI-4 (2019), March 2020. Link: https://rm.coe.int/rapport-est-en/16809cfba8