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|2018 year-end results|
|74%||of identified stateless persons were granted or confirmed nationality|
|2,030||people of concern received legal support|
|790||refugee children were enrolled in primary education|
|230||refugees were provided with entrepreneurship/business training|
|2019 planning figures|
|6,000||persons with undetermined nationality will be assisted with confirmation of nationality|
|2,500||children at risk of statelessness will be registered and issued with birth certificates|
|700||refugee children will be enrolled in primary education|
|170||people of concern will be provided with entrepreneurship/business training|
People of Concern
Operational environmentThe operational environment in Tajikistan continued to be characterised by complex geopolitical elements. While potential flows of Afghan refugees into Tajikistan persisted, the Government maintained a restrictive border policy throughout the year. In 2018, protection space was preserved but fragile, and the risk of certain refugees being deported continued. The national refugee status determination (RSD) system is evolving, and not yet in full conformity with international standards. The Office continues its work with Government stakeholders to obtain observer status in the RSD Commission, with the objective of providing technical support.
Tajikistan has actively engaged in statelessness reduction and prevention activities, including further expansion of the statelessness identification project to eight additional districts of the country.
UNHCR enjoyed excellent practical collaboration with the authorities in Tajikistan, including in the ambit of emergency preparedness. UNHCR and the Committee for Emergency and Civil Defence have committed to building efficient response mechanisms through joint activities and regular simulation exercises.
In 2018, UNHCR continued to concentrate on strengthening the national asylum system, emergency preparedness for the Afghanistan situation and finding solutions for refugees and stateless persons.
Population trendsBy the end of 2018, there were 2,657 refugees in Tajikistan with an additional 515 new arrivals, almost all originating from Afghanistan. Data on asylum-seekers includes some asylum applications filled only by the head of household only with an estimated family size of five.
In the course of 2018, 5,006 individuals with undetermined nationality were identified and registered. This brings the total number of stateless and persons with undetermined nationality registered between November 2014 and December 2018 to 34,420. Solutions with confirmation of nationality were provided to 10,890 persons.
Key achiemevementsAs a result of cooperation with the Government of Tajikistan, the Office has enacted working plans to support policy development and legislative changes specifically related to the refugee protection framework, with a view to ensuring access to the territory and procedures in line with international standards. Plans also include policy and legislative work in the area of reduction of statelessness. Based on the above, the National Center for Legislation, with the support of UNHCR, has drafted a gap analysis of national legislation, followed by recommendations.
UNHCR supported capacity building of Government officials working on RSD procedures through various learning programmes and workshops. These activities include support to border guard officials from Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on International Refugee Law and protection principles, in partnership with the OSCE.
Notably, in 2018 the Government of Tajikistan committed to resolve all statelessness issues in the country. During the year, 10,890 persons were supported with citizenship confirmation.
UNHCR, in partnership with the Committee for Emergency Situation and Civil Defence (CoES) organized a 3-day inter-agency field simulation exercise (SIMEX) that observed the participation of 180 officials from the Government and line ministries, and 70 staff members from humanitarian agencies.
Unmet needsWhereas the backlog of identified cases at risk of statelessness during the pilot project has been almost cleared, there are around 651 persons for whom solutions are not feasible within the existing national legislation. This caseload comprises nationals of neighbouring countries married to Tajik citizens, who currently reside on the territory of the country with expired documents and visas and who lost their previous nationality for a different reason. The only opportunity for this group to legalise their status and acquire nationality is through an Amnesty Law, for which adoption has been pending since 2015.
Working environmentGiven the complexity in the region, refugee protection is impacted by national security concerns, especially due to the large border shared with Afghanistan. The National Refugee Law is largely aligned with international standards but implementation remains difficult due to dispersed administrative regulations. Resources to revitalise the labour market and social protection remain limited, hampering efforts to facilitate local refugee integration. The government has been forthcoming in its effort to improve protection environment but requires technical and material support.
The office projects 1,500 new arrivals, bringing the total number of people of concern in 2018 to 3,500, nearly all coming from Afghanistan. UNHCR prepares for a possible influx of 10,000 Afghan refugees, primarily from the North-Eastern provinces. The total number of stateless persons in Tajikistan remains unknown, but UNHCR estimates the actual number to be even twice as high as the current number of registered persons, which is some 29,000.
UNHCR’s multi-year protection and solutions strategy will focus on strengthening national asylum system and emergency preparedness; achieving solutions for refugees, with an emphasis on local integration; reducing and preventing statelessness, strengthening the asylum system and emergency preparedness.
In addition, inter-agency partnerships will be leveraged to mainstream people of concern into existing partner programmes. These efforts will be made in the inter-agency context of National Development strategy, the 2016-20 UNDAF, the Development Coordination Council (DCC) and existing projects and programmes of key development partners. UNHCR will also support key NGO partners to mobilize resources independently.
Key prioritiesUNHCR will focus on building the Government capacity, especially in ensuring access to asylum and subsequently access to all other rights, while also promoting protection space in case of emergencies. This includes technical and material support to improve legal framework, border management and asylum procedures. The Office has undertaken phased disengagement in providing individual assistance, health and education, and instead focus on livelihoods and integrating people of concern into social protection programmes through advocacy with relevant line ministries, civil society and the private sector.
UNHCR will support a government-led country-wide exercise to resolve existing situations of statelessness, and support the Government in acceding to the Statelessness Conventions. Further, UNHCR will collaborate with the Government in developing and putting in place a statelessness determination procedure. UNHCR will work with the Government, UN agencies and other stakeholders to prevent statelessness through birth registration and the issuance of birth certificates to all children.