UN High Commissioner for Refugees calls for greater support for Afghan refugees in Tajikistan
Dushanbe — Concluding a two-day visit to Tajikistan, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi called on the international community to redouble its support for Afghan refugees in Tajikistan and throughout the region.
In Dushanbe, Grandi was received by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon. They discussed the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and the international protection needs of asylum-seekers and refugees. Grandi commended the Government for its generosity in hosting refugees for almost three decades and called for expanded support for long staying and new Afghan refugees.
“Despite the many crises in the world, it is critical that the international community not neglect the needs of Afghan refugees, including here in Tajikistan,” he said.
The High Commissioner also met with the Ministers of Foreign and Internal Affairs. Grandi expressed his appreciation for their cooperation and underlined the important role Tajikistan plays in ensuring international protection for people forced to flee.
To this end, Grandi welcomed the resumption of the Government’s comprehensive registration of asylum seekers in order to determine their refugee status, and pledged UNHCR’s full support to the Government in this area.
In addition to the meetings with officials, Grandi visited the Balkhi refugee settlement, near the Tajik-Afghan border in Khatlon province, with the Chairman of the Committee for Emergency Situations and Civil Defense. The settlement was recently established by the Tajik authorities, with support of the international community, as part of its emergency preparedness measures, and is ready to receive any new asylum seekers from Afghanistan.
Grandi also met with the refugee community in Vahdat city, which hosts three quarters of refugees in the country. He learned about their experiences of living in Tajikistan, including the challenges that have emanated from the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan.
“The Afghans I met today demonstrated the extraordinary potential of refugees. They were young, talented, and full of energy and drive. It is now up to the international community and the host Government to provide them with the space and the opportunity they need so that they can make the most of their potential,” said Grandi.
There are nearly 14,000 refugees and asylum-seekers living in Tajikistan.