UNHCR opened its office in Tajikistan in 1993 following the invitation of the Government to assist the country with the emergency relief-related activities aimed at helping internally displaced persons and refugees. UNHCR also facilitated the peace process and provided support to the National Reconciliation Commission.
A major achievement of UNHCR has been the return of Tajik refugees and their smooth reintegration into their own society. Activities included massive reconstruction works in Khatlon province, where UNHCR funded the reconstruction of over 25,000 destroyed houses, as well as a considerable number of hospitals, schools, and other key buildings. In addition, UNHCR carried out rehabilitation and reintegration activities for the Tajik returnees.
The Republic of Tajikistan was the first in Central Asia to accede to the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees and to develop its national asylum system. In this connection, since its early days in Tajikistan UNHCR has been working with the Government on establishing a reliable asylum system and has provided protection and assistance to refugees, mainly from Afghanistan, who seek asylum in Tajikistan.
UNHCR is working in Tajikistan on the basis of its Statute and the Cooperation Agreement signed in May 2002 between UNHCR and the Tajik Government.
Currently, the UNHCR office in Tajikistan is working with some 5,000 persons of concern, mainly refugees and asylum seekers from Afghanistan, as well as from other countries.
For more information on regional programmes of UNHCR visit http://www.unhcr.kz/eng/
Main UNHCR objectives in Tajikistan are:
Support the Government in developing a proper asylum regime, in line with the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugee, following the transfer of the asylum issues from the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection to the Ministry of Internal Affairs;
Amend the implementing legislation and resolutions to bring them to internationally recognized standards
Pursue durable solutions, in particular to create conditions for local integration and facilitate self-reliance of refugees;
Lobby for the accession of Tajikistan to the international statelessness instruments and provide support to stateless persons in finding permanent solutions;
Cooperate with Tajik authorities in border monitoring and border management;
Play an active role in the REACT disaster reduction and recovery mechanisms;
Continue efforts to improve the social and economic well being of persons of concern;
Continue to support human rights activities to ensure that refugee issues are part of the general human rights agenda of the country.
Refugees and asylum seekers
Legal assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers to ensure access to the national asylum system;
Monitoring of implementation of national asylum procedures and their compliance with international standards (as per Art. 35 of the 1951 Convention);
Legal assistance to prevent cases of illegal detention and deportation of refugees.
Assistance and community services:
Provision of material, financial, medical and/or social assistance;
Support to refugee children to ensure their access to education (provision of books, school uniforms, liaison with local schools to secure enrollment, extracurricular courses, such as Cyrillic script and Tajik History, promote their integration and tolerance education programs in local schools, etc);
With support from the German Government UNHCR runs the DAFI project, which assists young refugees to pursue higher education in Tajik universities through yearly scholarships;
Working with refugee communities by supporting refugee community mobilization to facilitate self-reliance of refugees.
Durable solutions for refugees:
Assistance to refugees who wish to voluntarily return to their country of origin;
Identification and processing of serious protection cases for resettlement;
Legal assistance to persons who meet national requirements under citizenship law in naturalization process.
Government capacity building:
Support to the Migration Service under the Ministry of Internal Affairs in establishing an adequate asylum system and related procedures;
Work with relevant Ministries on introducing changes and amendments to the country's refugee legislation;
Participate as observers in the National Refugee Status Determination Commission to provide advice and guidance to the government on international standards and practices of the refugee determination process;
Provide training and technical assistance to relevant government structures (MOI, Prosecutor's office, judiciary, lawyers, etc).
UNHCR is mandated by the UN General Assembly to coordinate worldwide activities on prevention and reduction of statelessness;
UNHCR is working in Tajikistan with relevant government partners on developing a national plan of action for identification of stateless persons and finding solutions to their problems. An important part of this work is related to the prevention and reduction of statelessness, which is being addressed by working with government agencies on removing gaps in the national legislation and procedures.
Participation in interagency working groups on border management;
Joint border guards training activities with other relevant actors;
Participation in REACT(Rapid Emergency Assessment & Coordination Team) and the cluster groups;
Ensuring that refugee issues are fully incorporated into the UNDAF and other development programs;
Working jointly with other agencies on gender and HIV/AIDS issues.
Key Government partners:
Ministry of Internal Affairs and Migration Service of the Republic of Tajikistan
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan
Executive Apparatus of the President of the Republic of Tajikistan (Department for Constitutional Guarantees of Citizens' Rights)
Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Labor and Social Protection
Key NGO partners:
Rights and Prosperity
Refugee Children and Vulnerable Citizens (RCVC)
The UNHCR office in Tajikistan also works in close cooperation with the international community, including the UN family, OSCE, IOM, Aga Khan Foundation and other International NGOs and embassies.