The report, entitled ‘Gap Analysis Report: A Review of Tajikistan’s Asylum Law and Practice’ is in itself filling a gap. Prior to its publication, there were very few publically available sources of information on the legal circumstances of asylum seekers and refugees in Tajikistan for practitioners and researchers working on these issues. The wide range of topics covered in the Gap Analysis Report provides a comprehensive insight to the state of laws and procedures surrounding refugees and asylum seekers in Tajikistan today.
“The Gap Analysis Report begins, rather than ends, a discussion about the legal conditions faced by refugees in Tajikistan. With the continuing cooperation of the Government and UNHCR, stakeholders can use this report and address the most pressing areas of need that are identified in the report,” says Josh Friedman, DRC’s Acting Regional Representative in Central Asia.
The report addresses gaps in three main areas of refugee law: shortcomings in the law as written, problems with the implementation of the law in practice, and issues with integrating refugees into Tajik society. Concerns about informal payments possibly playing a role in the process are also considered. While the Tajik Law “On Refugees” broadly conforms to international best practice, subsidiary legal instruments, such as Governmental Resolutions No. 325 and 328 that bar refugees from living in Dushanbe, plainly contravene the 1951 Convention.
DRC, and other stakeholders, are working with officials from the Ministry of Interior and other governmental agencies to address these shortcomings. Recent steps towards addressing some of the gaps identified in the report, such as the work to establish a temporary accommodation center for new asylum seekers and the recent decision by Parliament to take up the Ministry’s amendments to the refugees law, demonstrate the seriousness with which the Government of Tajikistan seeks to meet its international commitments to asylum seekers and refugees.
“We are heartened by the positive response of our counterparts in the Government to the Gap Analysis and appreciate their concrete steps to improve asylum law and practice,” Friedman adds.
Czech asylum attorney Martin Rozumek, the director of the Prague-based NGO Organization for Aid to Refugees, was the lead author of the Gap Analysis Report. Rozumek visited Tajikistan in October 2011 and, with DRC staff in Dushanbe, interviewed Tajik government officials, members of the international community and diplomats to gather information for the report. Further meetings with refugees and extensive research of the existing literature in the field added more data for the report.
The Gap Analysis Report was made possible by funding from the European Union.
The report is available on UNHCR Refworld database at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/502510a92.html.