Halimzhan Abdiraimov receiving his long-awaited passport

Halimzhan Abdirayimov's difficult life peripeteia left him without the most important thing - citizenship of the Kyrgyz Republic. He was born in 1958 in the village of Tepe-Korgon, Aravan district of Osh province, then still Kyrgyz SSR. Housing, residence registration, and other bureaucratic procedures were only part of the obstacles he was facing in order to timely exchange his Soviet passport to the passport of the independent Kyrgyz Republic.

2011 hit him with a row of misfortunes: he fell sick and bed-bound. After that, one night his house was burnt down and Khalimzhan received severe body burns that lead to partial loss of his ability to look after himself and move independently. He has been on crutches ever since.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of a passport, he was not able to receive social support, apply for disability and retire. For the same reason, he constantly encountered difficulties when applied for medical services.

In June 2020, as part of multilateral comprehensive assistance to the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic in response to the COVID-19 crisis and financial support from the Government of Japan, the UNDP launched activities aimed at improving access to legal information and legal aid in remote pilot communities. Within these activities, the United Nations Development Programme in partnership with the nonprofit association "Ferghana Valley Lawyers Without Borders" provides legal aid to the citizens in 6 pilot communities, with respect to the epidemiological standards in the context of COVID-19.

Halimzhan Abdirayimov learned from fellow villagers about free legal aid provided by the community-based lawyer. In December 2020, he met Nurlan Istanov, a local community lawyer at the Community-Based Service Center (CBSC), established in the pilot municipality of the Tepe-Korgon village.

- Being a former USSR citizen, and not applying timely for a passport of independent Kyrgyzstan he remained a person without a definite status for almost 30 years. This category of persons can be documented through the citizenship determination procedure in the Citizenship Commissions of the SRS District Departments – the lawyer says. - The case of Abdiraimov Halimzhan was complicated as the application to the above-mentioned commission required presenting a package of documents, including a USSR passport, a birth certificate, and documents confirming permanent residence in the Kyrgyz Republic for the last 5 years, which he could not collect on his own as some of them have been lost. It was necessary to recover them by searching the archives.

During legal support, all the necessary documents were prepared, where a lot of work was done at the local government level, in various archives, in the registry office, including the digitization of the birth certificate, obtaining PIN and much more.

After collecting all the necessary documents, an important part of the process awaited Halimzhan Abdirayimov: a complex procedure before the Citizenship Determination Commission at the Department of Civil Status Records, Passportization and Population Registration of the Aravan district, where the lawyer represented his interests.

The Commission, having considered all materials of the case, on February 10, 2021 made a conclusion about the affiliation of Abdirayimov Halimzhan Chibilovich to the citizenship of the Kyrgyz Republic, thereby recognizing him a citizen of Kyrgyzstan. This completed the main stage of his long way to the recognition of Kyrgyz citizenship, to which he had a full right, but because of a number of difficult circumstances in his life he could not obtain earlier. 

After receiving the long-awaited decision on the recognition of his status, the lawyer helped him prepare the entire list of documents for obtaining his first ever passport as a citizen of Kyrgyzstan. At the beginning of March, the Civil Registry staff, who had been actively involved in the story of the documents, which had been dragging on ever since the Kyrgyz SSR, handed Halimzhan Abdirayimov his passport as a citizen of Kyrgyzstan.

He could not believe to the last that his case was being actively promoted, all for free. Now he can receive medical services, exercise his right to vote in elections, use banking services - live and enjoy his rights. 

However, this is not the end of story. A community-based lawyer, Nurlan Istanov, will assist in registering his disability application for a pension. Thus, step by step towards achieving the goals of sustainable development and practical realization of the “leave no one behind” principle.



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