Tajiks discuss statelessness

Staff Report

DUSHANBE -- Officials from Tajik passport offices, law enforcement agencies, municipal governments and civil society October 5 conferred in Shaartuz to discuss statelessness, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said in a statement that day.

The OSCE and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) co-organised the event, which took place in Shaartuz specifically because it has a "relatively high number" of residents who lack citizenship documents, the OSCE said. About 2,200 Afghan refugees live in Tajikistan, according to EurasiaNet. Some are stateless.

The UNHCR and Tajik government began a project in 2014 in Shaartuz to combat statelessness. The meeting's purpose was to assess progress two years later.

"Whether due to the break-up of the Soviet Union, the civil war or conflicts in neighbouring countries of Tajikistan [such as Afghanistan], becoming stateless deprives people of basic rights," UNHCR Representative in Tajikistan Vito Trani said, according to the OSCE. "Where we can prevent statelessness, we can prevent poverty and desperation."

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