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Budgets and Expenditure in Subregion Central Asia
People of Concern - 2019[["Refugees",4704],["Asylum-seekers",1795],["Returned refugees",1],["Stateless",116629]]
Central Asia was home to some 117,000 stateless persons and 6,500 refugees and asylum-seekers, mostly from Afghanistan. UNHCR’s response in 2019 focused on supporting governments in the region to eradicate and prevent statelessness, enhancing national asylum systems (including through partnerships), and advancing emergency preparedness. Inter-agency collaboration on birth registration and childhood statelessness, civil documentation and vital statistics was a core component of this work.
Collectively, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan submitted 12 pledges at the High-Level Segment on Statelessness in October 2019.
The region made significant progress towards eradicating statelessness. The Kyrgyz Republic became the first country in the world to end statelessness on its territory by granting or confirming citizenship to all stateless persons previously identified through a country-wide campaign. National legislation in Kazakhstan now ensuresbirth registration for all children born in the country, regardless of their parents’ legal status, and existing restrictions were waived to facilitate refugees’ access to permanent residency.
Tajikistan passed an amnesty law that addresses the most complex cases by allowing stateless persons and foreign nationals residing in the country without legal status to regularize their status without penalty. In Turkmenistan, a presidential decree granted nationality to nearly 900 people and the President also formally endorsed a national action plan to end statelessness. Uzbekistan passed new citizenship legislation that should benefit some 50,000 stateless persons.
UNHCR worked with governments to address remaining gaps in citizenship laws and establish mechanisms to expedite the identification and resolution of statelessness. Over the course of the year, statelessness in Central Asia was further reduced by some 15,700 people, bringing the number of resolved cases since the launch of the #IBelong campaign to 79,000.
Governments continued to proactively engage in the Almaty Process - a regional inter-governmental platform for dialogue on refugee protection and international migration to, from and within Central Asia. Having phased out of mandate refugee status determination in all Central Asian countries, UNHCR focused on advocacy and capacity-building in support of national asylum systems. UNHCR also worked with local authorities and private sector partners to explore innovative and sustainable livelihood opportunities for refugees, with a view to promoting self-reliance and inclusion while alleviating the pressure on national and local systems. A small number of refugees (one in Turkmenistan, two in Kazakhstan and two in the Kyrgyz Republic) were naturalized in 2019.
A UNHCR three-year protection strategy for Central Asia (2019-2021) was established in consultation with government ministries and other partners. The strategic goals are:
- to support governments to eradicate and prevent statelessness;
- to strengthen partnerships for sustainable asylum systems; and
- to support States and local authorities to ensure preparedness for emergency response
Operational EnvironmentThe overall political context in Central Asia remains relatively stable. The sub-region continues to be affected by the population movements of its citizens towards Russia, primarily of economic character. Asylum policies are predominantly guided by national security considerations, rendering access to asylum and limiting the protection space. The Almaty Process remains the only inter-governmental consultative platform where migration and asylum issues in the region are discussed.
Ongoing reforms in Uzbekistan continue to positively impact on regional cooperation, as witnessed in March 2018 at the first Summit of Central Asian leaders in nearly 20 years. To pursue regional peace and stability, Central Asian states are taking a more prominent role in engaging with Afghanistan, where 90 per cent of the refugees in Central Asia originate from.
With the exception of Uzbekistan, all Central Asian countries are signatories to the 1951 Refugee Convention, whilst Turkmenistan is the only State party to the Statelessness Conventions in the region.
The 2019-2021 strategic orientation in Central Asia, which is aligned with the UNHCR Global Priorities and Strategic Directions for 2017-2021, is guided by the following priorities:
- eradication and prevention of statelessness in partnership with interlocutors;
- achieve sustainable asylum systems through strengthened partnerships;
- development of efficient emergency preparedness.
Strategy and ResponseIn Turkmenistan, UNHCR will continue cooperation with the Government and will support its efforts to resolve the existing estimated 4,300 stateless cases, and assist the Government to prevent future statelessness by adopting the 2018-2024 national action plan to address statelessness. Furthermore, UNHCR will work with the Government to continue seeking durable solutions for a small group of 23 mandate refugees, and enhance its work with Government on emergency preparedness.
Uzbekistan participates in the statelessness related activities of UNHCR in the region and UNHCR will continue to expand opportunities for cooperation with the authorities in areas of prevention and reduction of statelessness.
2019 Budget and Expenditure in Central Asia | USD
|Kazakhstan Regional Office||Budget|
2019 Voluntary Contributions to Central Asia | USD
|Earmarking / Donor||All
|Central Asia overall|
|United States of America||1,900,000||1,900,000|
|Central Asia overall subtotal||1,900,000||1,900,000|
|Kazakhstan Regional Office|
|Kazakhstan Regional Office subtotal||150,931||150,931|