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Tajikistan is a country of origin for large numbers of migrant workers who seek employment abroad. Remittances sent home by Tajik migrant workers make up a substantial part of the country’s annual GDP and it’s hard to find a single Tajik citizen who does not have a family member, friend or acquaintance currently working abroad. Indeed, migration plays a significant role in the country’s economic and social stability and the wellbeing of thousands of families.
Despite the comprehensive efforts made by the Government of Tajikistan to address remaining challenges in regards to migration management, Tajik migrants and their families still face a lot of difficulties both abroad and at home.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) supports the Government of Tajikistan by encouraging social and economic development through safe and well managed migration procedures and by providing direct assistance to returned migrants and communities affected by migration in Tajikistan.
As the leading international organization for migration issues, IOM works with its partners in the Government of Tajikistan, local civil society, and the international community to: i) assist in meeting the growing operational challenges of migration management; ii) advance understanding of migration issues; iii) encourage social and economic development through migration; iv) uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants.
IOM began working in Tajikistan in 1993 during the Tajik Civil War, shortly after Tajikistan became an observer state of the IOM in the autumn of 1992. Operations during this time where mainly focused on humanitarian assistance to those affected by conflict; movements, return and resettlement for refugees and internally displaced persons; and reintegrating former combatants. With as many as 700 000 citizens displaced during the war IOM came to take on an important role in the country and Tajikistan soon requested to become a full member of the organization, which it officially did on the 29th of November 1994.
Since this period, IOM has grown and expanded to all areas of the country across a wide range of thematic areas. IOM Tajikistan will continue to advocate that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants, society, and governments.
As part of its mandate, IOM Tajikistan leads counter-trafficking in person efforts in the country, using a victims-centered approach, and raising public awareness on human trafficking to prevent exploitation and rights abuses. A full range of legal, information, and reintegration services are provided by IOM in Tajikistan, particularly to those migrants who are vulnerable or who have been exploited.
IOM Tajikistan is also working on issues of public health, particularly in relation to communicable diseases like tuberculosis and HIV with a focus on the health of migrant workers and their families. This includes working with health authorities and diaspora groups both in Tajikistan and the wider region.
Another important priority is lending support to the Tajik Border Force in their efforts to strengthen border management, update best practices and regulations, and upgrade facilities at border crossings. This is done to help Tajikistan facilitate the legitimate crossing of goods and people whilst maintaining secure borders.
Creating more local opportunities for employment in Tajikistan would make it possible for more people considering leaving the country to stay and contribute to their own communities and allow them to be closer to their children and families. Work conducted by IOM in community stabilization is aimed at building safer and more prosperous communities through supporting small businesses, building community infrastructure, and providing vocational training. IOM also works with communities on both sides of the Tajik-Afghan border to increase trade, trust and social cohesion.
After joining the United Nations family in September 2016, we are confident that IOM Tajikistan will be able to strengthen its ability to act in the interest of migrants in closer cooperation with its partners. New opportunities will undoubtedly arise for IOM to support people on the move, be it from natural disasters, climate change, economic reasons, or resettlement.
For more information about what IOM does in Tajikistan and what our partners and beneficiaries think about our results and work, please visit our channel in YouTube and MixCloud and our Facebook page. If you have any ideas, comments or suggestions related to IOM’s work in Tajikistan, you are very welcome to email us.
- Chief of Mission Dragan Aleksoski