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UNHCR Handovers Office Equipment to the Government of Tajikistan

As part of the commitment to provide technical assistance and capacity building support to the Government of Tajikistan, UNHCR handed over 26 sets of office equipment that include computers, multifunctional printers and web-cameras to the Headquarters and district offices of Passport Registration Service (PRS), Civil Registration Office (ZAGS), khukumats and jamoats in Khatlon and Sughd provinces and Districts of Republican Subordination where the statelessness projects are being implemented. Since 2014, with UNHCR’s support, 29,381 persons with undetermined nationality have been identified in three pilot regions of Tajikistan and out of them16,695 people were assisted in confirmation of their Tajik citizenship.  However, the true extent of statelessness in the country remains unknown in the absence of the country-wide identification campaign.

 The first ceremony took place on October the 03rd in Dushanbe with the Headquarters of PRS under the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and to the Department on Citizenship and the Work with Refugees (DCWR). It represented a clear recognition for the excellent work and partnership in support of joint activities for the identification and reduction of statelessness. During the Ceremony Mr. Nurali Safarov, the Deputy Head of PRS noted: “PRS appreciated the long standing cooperation with UNHCR Country Office in Tajikistan not only on refugee protection issues, but also on the statelessness front. The continuous expert and timely technical support provided by UNHCR to PRS has undoubtedly enabled to achieve joint objectives”. During the event Mr. Vito Trani, the UNHCR Representative in Tajikistan, assured the State counterparts that UNHCR is and remains ready to support the Government of Tajikistan in solving statelessness, while he is welcoming a possible launch of a country-wide registration exercise following the adoption of the Amnesty Law that will ultimately facilitate the solutions of more complex cases.

 Considering that 66% of 29,381 stateless persons have been identified in Khatlon province, a significant amount of the equipment was handed over in this region. On October the 05th, the Heads of PRS and ZAGS offices and local authorities of Shaartuz and Qabodiyan districts convened for the handover ceremony at the office of NGO Chashma, where Mr. Trani welcomed and thanked all present local authorities for the instrumental partnership and dedicated work demonstrated from the outset of the statelessness pilot project up to date. He also noted, the close cooperation of different actors, including NGOs, Jamoats, Khukumats, PRS and ZAGS offices that ultimately have successfully enabled some 9,454 persons to be regularized and having confirmed their legal status and overcome their protracted legal limbo situation.

During the ceremony Ms. Abronzoda Firuza, the Head of PRS of Qabodiyan district, confirmed that during the past three years an extensive work has been professionally conducted while a large number of applications from persons with undetermined nationality have been positively processed.

After the handover ceremony, the UNHCR partner agency Chashma conducted home visits to former stateless persons who have been assisted and ultimately became citizens of Tajikistan. Those visited were extremely grateful for the legal assistance whereas some of them started to receive social allowances through the state support programs. During the field visits, it became evident that still, there are many who are exposed to different vulnerabilities such as disability, poverty, living in acute conditions. The lack of birth certificates for children still remain a problem in large families with low income.

More handover ceremonies took place also in Tursunzade and Shakhrinav districts of Republican Subordination and in Devashtich and Istaravshan districts of Sughd province. During the events the local authorities expressed their gratitude to UNHCR and its partners for reaching out the stateless population.

More than 10,000 persons with undetermined nationality are still pending solutions.

UNHCR believes that the equipment will be a real asset for the work of the local authorities and more cases will be processed faster and more efficiently.