When Odina Solieva left her hometown in Uzbekistan’s Ferghana Valley 10 years ago to marry a man from Osh, across the border in Kyrgyzstan, she didn’t realize she was giving up her legal identity.
The 30-year-old trained nurse is now one of thousands who have fallen through the cracks. Because she has no valid passport in either country, Solieva can’t work and can’t go home. She is stateless.
Solieva didn’t know that when she first came to Kyrgyzstan she should have registered with the Uzbek Embassy in Bishkek. After five years her passport was automatically invalidated, the Uzbek Embassy later told her; the diplomats there refused her pleas for help. For over a decade people like Solieva could cross the border back to Uzbekistan without a passport, but border controls have become much tighter in recent years.
“I cannot travel back home to visit my parents and siblings. I am stuck,” Solieva told EurasiaNet.org. “In addition, I cannot find a job in Kyrgyzstan, where I live with my husband, because I lack the proper documents.”
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