Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Afghan refugees urged to leave Tajikistan

Afghan refugees are calling for the Tajik government and international organizations to attend to growing discrimination in Dushanbe, IRIN reported Saturday.

According to the refugees, Tajik policemen are forcing them to leave Tajikistan’s capital city and return to their proper districts. While refugees arriving to Tajikistan during Afghanistan’s civil war were registered in Dushanbe, recent refugees had been registered in areas outside the capital city.

“My son was detained last night at 11pm by a policeman and then put under arrest,” said Guloba, one of the some 50 Afghan refugees stationed in front of the local Human Rights and Protection office in Dushanbe on Friday. Such use of power is a sign for the need to discuss the outdated refugee law which exists in Tajikistan.

As the refugees struggle with discrimination and poverty, many have flocked to the major cities in search of jobs. “We cannot live in the districts; we simply cannot survive there. Even local Tajiks themselves are leaving rural areas and migrating to Russia and the capital to earn money,” Khayri, an Afghan refugee, pointed out. “We cannot afford to travel to the capital every day. My son makes eight somoni [US$2.32] per day. That is not enough to travel daily to Dushanbe and back and support the entire family with food.”

According to the Human Rights and Protection Office, there are currently 1,300 Afghan refugees residing in Tajikistan.

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