In Tajikistan, DRC’s work focuses on improving the protection and livelihoods of refugees and asylum seekers, enhancing the capacity of immigration authorities, and strengthening civil society.
The majority of asylum seekers and refugees in Tajikistan are from neighbouring Afghanistan. As a result of the continuing hostilities and precarious security situation in northern Afghanistan, increasing numbers of refugees are seeking sanctuary in Tajikistan. From 2008 to 2009 the number almost doubled, and the influx of Afghans is expected to increase further in the near future. As an integral part of the regional strategic response to Afghan displacement, a large part of DRC’s work in Tajikistan aims at improving the protection and livelihoods of Afghan refugees and asylum seekers. Mobilization of the Afghan refugee communities plays a pivotal role in this effort, ensuring the target group’s participation and ownership, and DRC strives to increase the capacity of refugee communities to advocate for their rights and address their own protection needs.
Tajikistan remains the poorest post-Soviet country with an impoverished population and underdeveloped governance structures at all levels, not least the asylum and immigration authorities. To improve the protection of refugees and asylum seekers, DRC seeks to strengthen the capacity of relevant authorities to respect and comply with international human rights obligations, secure a fair and transparent refugee status determination (RSD) procedure, and maintain appropriate appeal mechanisms. For this purpose, DRC carries out trainings and seminars for judges, border guards and civil servants.
In both Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan civil society organizations have very limited capacity and opportunities for advocating on behalf of displaced persons and engage in dialogue with the immigration authorities. Consequently, DRC has supported the Ferghana Valley network initiative “Dolina Mira” (Peace Valley) since 2003. The purpose of the Dolina Mira network, consisting of a number of Tajik and Kyrgyz NGOs, is to enhance the role of civil society in Ferghana Valley in mitigating inter-regional and inter-communal tension in this conflict-prone region shared by Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and promote state-civil dialogue on issues relating to human rights in general and refugee protection in particular.