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UN chief calls for end to statelessness

Nov 13, 2013
From wire reports, RIGA

UN chief calls for end to statelessness

United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, has called for an end to the issue of statelessness ahead of his visit to the Baltics, reports rus.delfi.lv.

The top diplomat will visit Latvia on Nov. 14-15 and deliver a speech commemorating the countries 95th birthday.

Current legislation in Latvia grants special status to 304,000 non-citizens whilst It's estimated there are 9,000 stateless children  who are not recognized citizens. 

Under the current law, non-citizens are not allowed to vote and hold positions in public office. They are also assigned special passports.

A spokesman for the secretary general said: "The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Latvia to  fully cooperate with the civil society and follow the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review and the Special Procedures of appropriate international agreements in this context to increase efforts to respond to the problem of statelessness in the country ,"  

Mr Ki-Moon will meet with Latvian President Andris Berzins and Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis as part of his official visit. 

In Estonia, the UN chief will hold talks with President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet, and President of Parliament Ene Ergma.

Ban's last stop will be Lithuania, where he will meet with President Dalia Grybauskaite, Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius, Foreign Minister Linas Antanas Linkevicius and Loreta Grauziniene, speaker of Parliament.

The secretary-general will also visit a sustainable energy project, and receive an Honorary Doctorate at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas before he will wrap up his visit to the Baltic region on Nov. 18.  

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