Supporters of former Kyrgyzstan's president shout slogans and hold placards during a rally in Bishkek, on July 3, 2019. / AFP / Vyacheslav OSELEDKO
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Kyrgyzstan handed citizenship to the last stateless people on its territory Thursday in what U.N. officials hailed as a breakthrough in the global fight to end the plight of millions of "legal ghosts" who lack any nationality.The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) launched an ambitious campaign called #Ibelong in 2014 to end statelessness in a decade. Kyrgyzstan is the first country to meet the deadline.UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi praised Kyrgyzstan -- an ex-Soviet republic in Central Asia -- for cutting its stateless population from about 13,700 to zero in five years.
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