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Homeowners in Southern Kyrgyzstan Receive Ownership Titles for their Houses

BATKEN, KYRGYZSTAN, 28 SEPTEMBER – Residents of Chukur-Kishtak village in Batken oblast finally received land ownership documents after two decades of appeal. The resolution came after intensive work done by lawyers and the local authorities to analyze the issue, as part of UNHCR’s peacebuilding project.  

“For twenty years, I was worried about my house every day. Finally, I can sleep peacefully in my own house. I’m very grateful to UNHCR for helping us,” said Mr Ismail Taikaraev, one of the 28 residents of Chukur-Kishtak village who received their private property certificate.

For many years, Mr. Taikaraev and his neighbors have tried to register their land with the local registration office in Kadamjai Rayon. But the State Registration Service could not find ways to register their properties as the village was located very close the border with Uzbekistan.  Over the years, the villagers have long lost their hopes. 

Then Mr. Taikaraev heard of UNHCR’s project, “Building trust and confidence among people, communities and authorities”.  In April this year, he approached UNHCR’s partner “Spravedlivost (Justice)”.  Upon hearing about their strange case, Ms. Matlyuba Teshabaeva, a lawyer with Spravedlivost, decided to bring it to the attention of the project’s Advisory Council. 

The Advisory Council, comprised of representatives of of government, Ombudsman and UNHCR, approved Ms. Teshabaeva to take on the case of Chukur-Kishtak villagers.  Ms. Teshabaeva then researched a number of documents; including maps from the architectural department, as well as Kyrgyz land code and its analyses.  She specifically looked for any Article that forbids registration of private property along the state border areas – she found none.  As a result, she was able to prove that the claim of the 28 residents of Churkur-Kishtak village must be satisfied legally.

“The proof of ownership guarantees that they can register their house, buy insurance, receive mortgage, inherit the land to their children, get a loan for agricultural purposes,”  Mr. Igor Chiobanu, UNHCR’ Head of Osh Office said.  “These basic rights cannot be enjoyed unless they have official documentation. Thanks to the hard work of Ms. Teshebaeva, we were able to help these people after so many years.”

UNHCR’s project on “Building trust and confidence among people, communities and authorities” -  is aimed at increasing trust among communities and between individuals and authorities. The project is funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund and focuses on conflict sensitivity and effective problem solving with local self-government structures. The project includes such activities as legal assistance, implementation of small-scale peacebuilding initiatives, monitoring, analysis and advocacy.