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|2019 year-end results|
|12,100||people of undetermined nationality were identified and registered|
|9,700||9,700 people of undetermined nationality had their citizenship confirmed with the support of UNHCR|
|3,000||people of concern benefitted from legal assistance through partners|
|900||children from vulnerable families received school uniforms, books and stationery|
|800||people of concern received free medical consultations, and 700 were referred to specialized medical care|
|200||households (over 600 people) with specific needs received cash support|
|100||children had their births registered and obtained birth certificates with assistance from NGO partners|
|25||youth received DAFI scholarships|
|80%||of children were enrolled in primary and secondary school|
|70%||of adult persons of concern were engaged in some form of employment or income-generation activity. Nearly 300 people received support for vocational training courses, over 100 people for job placements, and another 100 for apprenticeships|
|2020 planning figures|
|10,000||persons with undetermined nationality will be assisted with confirmation of nationality|
|350||refugee children will be enrolled in primary education and 150 refugee students enrolled in upper secondary education|
|240||people with specific needs will receive cash grants|
People of Concern
Operational contextIn 2019, UNHCR focused on the eradication of statelessness; partnerships for a sustainable asylum system, including solutions for refugees with an emphasis on local integration; and emergency preparedness.
Since the launch of the #IBelong campaign in 2014, Tajikistan has made significant progress resolving statelessness through legislative and policy changes, as well as confirming nationality for a large number of identified cases. At the High-Level Segment on Statelessness in October 2019, the Government announced four important pledges:
- to adopt an amnesty law to provide legal status to stateless persons;
- to finalize the reform of the civil registration system and ensure universal birth registration for every child born in Tajikistan;
- to explore the extent of statelessness in the country through the 2020 national population census; and
- to consider accession to the two statelessness conventions.
Population trendAt the end of 2019 Tajikistan was host to nearly 3,800 refugees (compared to less than 2,700 in 2018), and more than 7,100 stateless persons and people with undetermined nationality. The Government reported some 3,200 new arrivals during the year, and almost 650 families applied for asylum – a significant increase from 2018. Almost all asylum-seekers were of Afghan nationality.
Nearly 300 cases, representing over 700 refugees, were processed for admission to Canada under the private sponsorship programme in 2019, while more than 70 people chose to return to Afghanistan with the support of UNHCR.
NGO partners identified and registered an additional 12,100 people with undetermined nationality, over 70% female. During the year, nearly 9,700 people with undetermined nationality had their citizenship confirmed.
- UNHCR’s advocacy and technical support contributed to the adoption of the amnesty law, which allows stateless persons and foreign nationals residing in Tajikistan without legal status to legalize their stay without penalty.
- Following UNHCR’s advocacy, the Government committed to ensuring universal birth registration and identification of the population at risk of statelessness by the end of 2024.
- UNHCR established new private sector partnerships with the Auchan hypermarket chain and the Serena and Hyatt Hotels, creating livelihood opportunities for people of concern.
- A country-wide profiling exercise was carried out, and an increased outreach strengthened referrals and understanding of the living conditions of people of concern.
- Contingency planning, capacity-building and emergency preparedness with local authorities, the United Nations system and NGO partners continued, including through an annual work plan with the Committee on Emergency Situation (CoES) and a simulation exercise in July 2019 targeting 120 participants from government, international organizations and NGOs.
Unmet needsThe operation was only funded 13% by the end of 2019. UNHCR was unable to provide emergency cash and medical assistance to all people with specific needs and had to prioritize the most vulnerable. Funding to cover school needs, support for peaceful co-existence projects and other programmes was significantly reduced.
Operational EnvironmentIn 2019, the political and socio-economic situation in Tajikistan is expected to start changing due to improved relations with Uzbekistan, whilst the security situation on the borders with Afghanistan will remain a concern for Tajikistan. Despite the dire economic situation, Tajikistan continues accepting and hosting refugees, arriving mainly from Afghanistan. The Government provides an unhindered access to education and healthcare for refugees. However, access to territory and freedom of residence remain challenging. The Resolutions which prohibit refugees from residing in urban areas are strictly enforced and non-compliance results in the rejection of asylum applications, the revocation of refugee status and deportation. Despite guaranteed legal right to work, refugees’ access to jobs and livelihoods remains challenging due to prevailing economic situation in the country and residence in the government authorised areas only. The Government demonstrates greater acknowledgement and commitment to address statelessness through confirming citizenship to an increasing number of persons with undetermined nationality.
During 2019, UNHCR will invest technical and material support to the Department for Citizenship and Works with Refugees (DCWR) and the Border Guards, and establish an MoU with the Office of the General Prosecutor and the Ombudsman’s Office. This cooperation aims to strengthen capacity of the state counterparts to identify and process statelessness cases and provide lasting solutions. In the context of refugee solutions, key partners include the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Education, Health, Social Welfare and Labour. The key partnership with the Executive Apparatus of the President will be operationalized through implementation of a joint Work-plan to be finalized in 2018. On statelessness, the UNHCR will further strengthen partnerships with the Passport Registration Services under the Ministries of Internal Affairs for active engagement in the provincial locations, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice for support to reduction of statelessness.
UNHCR’s two NGO partners will provide legal and social assistance to refugees and other two NGOs will be carrying out statelessness reduction and prevention activities. On birth registration, UNHCR will continue cooperation with UNICEF and UNDP, jointly advocating for legislative and policy changes.
Key PrioritiesIn 2019, UNHCR will focus on:
- Eradication and prevention of statelessness through technical assistance to the Government in the revision of legislation; carrying out country-wide registration, facilitating legal aid to stateless persons, as well as improving birth registration legislation and practices.
- Strengthening partnerships for sustainable asylum systems, through activities on introduction of a National Referral Mechanism for asylum seekers at the borders, bringing the national asylum procedures in line with international standards, strengthening the legal protection through enhanced cooperation with judicial bodies and regularization of legal status of Mandate refugees. Efforts on achieving long-term solutions for refugees will include enhancing self-reliance and access to livelihoods opportunities, promoting local integration through alternative stay arrangements and facilitating informed voluntary repatriation.
- Emergency preparedness, which will encompass a range of activities dedicated to enhancing the inter-agency response capacity for a possible refugee influx from Afghanistan.