Dushanbe, Tajikistan, June 20, 2020 – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) assisted 600 Tajik migrants stranded at the Kazakh-Uzbek border to safely return home. The returning labor migrants, including women and children, and students made the 180-km journey from the Zhibek Zholi border point in Kazakhstan, through Uzbekistan to Tajikistan. This assistance was closely coordinated with the governments of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Since June 3, 2020, over hundreds of Tajik migrants, half of whom were youth, women and children, stranded in Kazakhstan due to COVID-19, moved towards the Uzbek border, with hopes of returning home to Tajikistan. Some of them endured harsh conditions at the border for days with limited access to water, food and sanitary facilities while waiting at the border. Due to lack of shelter, migrants waited out in the open and were exposed to the summer heat during their transit. IOM was able to provide water, food, hygiene kits and personal protection items to transiting migrants in need.
The U.S. government acknowledges the importance of preventing the spread of COVID-19 and safeguarding public health and protecting the rights of migrants in countries of destination, transit and origin.
USAID is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. USAID’s work advances U.S. national security and economic prosperity, demonstrates American generosity, and promotes a path to recipient self-reliance and resilience. To learn more, visit: https://www.usaid.gov/central-asia-regional and USAID/Central Asia’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/USAIDCentralAsia
The UN Migration Agency recognizes and supports measures to contain the spreading of COVID-19 while emphasizing the right of migrants to return. IOM urges all stakeholders, in countries of destination, transit and origin, to explore ways to ensure that stranded migrants have the option to return to their countries of origin, all the while taking into full consideration public health measures