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UNHCR updates information on refugees in Tajikistan

UNHCR updates information on refugees in Tajikistan

The Tajik authorities and UNHCR have begun a joint information gathering initiative that will help the refugee agency hone its assistance and protection efforts and provide clear statistics on the number of refugees and asylum seekers in the country following several years of returns to Afghanistan.
23 February 2004
Afghan refugees attending school in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, Feb 23 (UNHCR) - Authorities have begun updating their information on all refugees and asylum seekers in Tajikistan under an agreement on revalidating registration signed by the government of Tajikistan and the UN refugee agency.

The exercise, which began on Monday, will provide proper documentation, accurate statistics and in-depth information on issues such as health, education and employment for refugees and asylum seekers. The information will help UNHCR ensure effective protection and find solutions for their situation.

The activity is being conducted by the State Migration Service under the Ministry of Labour in its premises, with support from UNHCR under a Memorandum of Understanding on the Registration Revalidation and Updating Activity. The agreement was signed last week by Mamadsho Ilolov, Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Population of the Republic of Tajikistan, and Nicholas Coussidis, UNHCR Representative in Tajikistan.

The exercise will last two weeks in Dushanbe and an additional week in Khujand and other locations where persons of concern to UNHCR live. The initial analysis of the data should be available in late March.

Tajik Minister Mamadsho Ilolov (left) and UNHCR's Nicholas Coussidis signing the Memorandum of Understanding to revalidate the registration of refugees and asylum seekers.

The information will be entered into a UNHCR-sponsored database, to which the agency has full access. The State Migration Service is responsible for the maintenance and management of the database, while UNHCR Tajikistan will continue to provide technical assistance. The database can be expanded to include other persons in the future.

UNHCR will share selected information with its implementing partners who provide assistance and protection, but the information will not be shared with other agencies or governments without the consent of individual refugees and asylum seekers.

Prior to starting the validation exercise, authorities estimated the number of refugees and asylum seekers in Tajikistan at some 3,000 persons, most of them Afghans. Over the past two years, more than 9,200 Afghan refugees have returned from Tajikistan with UNHCR assistance.