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Togo

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

Tonga

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

Turkey

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The constitution provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, but the government limited these rights. The government restricted foreign travel for tens of thousands of citizens accused of links to the Gulen movement or the failed 2016 coup attempt. Freedom of movement was also restricted in the southeast as a result of counter-PKK operations and, in certain cases, curfews imposed by local authorities. The government also limited freedom of movement for the 3.3 million persons from Syria as well as for the approximately 300,000 persons from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries who were present in the country.

The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to refugees, returning refugees, asylum seekers awaiting resettlement to third countries (termed “conditional refugees”), stateless persons, and temporary and international protection status holders.

Abuse of Migrants, Refugees, and Stateless Persons: Between January and November, authorities apprehended 361,000 individuals for crossing into the country from Syria, according to Turkish General Staff and Ministry of Interior data. Multiple sources reported that authorities denied entry to undocumented Iraqis and Syrians during the year. The country’s borders with Syria and Iraq have remained closed to all but extreme humanitarian cases since late 2015.

Incidents of societal violence directed against refugees and persons in refugee-like conditions increased during the year, and many refugees faced workplace exploitation. Early marriage and child labor also remained significant problems among refugees. Human rights groups alleged conditions in detention and removal centers sometimes limited migrants’ rights to communication with and access to family members, interpreters, and lawyers (also see Refoulement).

UNHCR conducted a number of visits to temporary reception centers in Duzici/Osmaniye and Kayseri, where migrants readmitted from Greece were referred on a temporary basis, but did not have regular, unfettered access. In most cases these migrants did not have access to legal counsel or interpretation, leaving them vulnerable to refoulement.

UNHCR reported more than 1,000 LGBTI asylum seekers and conditional refugees lived in the country, most from Iran. According to human rights groups, these refugees faced discrimination and hostility from both authorities and the local population due to their status as members of the LGBTI community. Commercial sexual exploitation also remained a significant problem in the LGBTI refugee community.

In-country Movement: The constitution provides that only a judge may limit citizens’ freedom to travel and only in connection with a criminal investigation or prosecution. The state of emergency allowed the government to limit citizens’ internal movement without a court order.

Freedom of movement remained a problem in parts of the east and southeast, where continuing PKK activity led authorities to block roads and set up checkpoints, temporarily restricting movement at times. The government instituted special security zones, restricting the access of civilians, and established curfews in parts of several provinces in response to PKK terrorist attacks or activity (see section 1.g.).

Conditional refugees and Syrians under temporary protection also experienced restrictions on their freedom of movement (see Protection of Refugees).

Foreign Travel: The government placed restrictions on foreign travel for tens of thousands of citizens accused of links to the Gulen movement or the failed coup attempt. Travel restrictions were applied both to those accused directly of affiliation with the Gulen movement or other terrorist groups as well as to their extended family members. Authorities also restricted several foreign citizens with dual Turkish citizenship from leaving the country. The government maintained that these travel restrictions were necessary and justified under the state of emergency.

Syrians under temporary protection risked the loss of temporary protection status and a possible bar on re-entry into the country if they chose to travel to a third country. The government issued individual exit permissions for Syrians under temporary protection departing the country for family reunification, health treatment, or permanent resettlement, and required an individual exception for all other reasons. The government sometimes denied exit permission to Syrians under temporary protection for reasons that were unclear.

Non-Syrian conditional refugees accepted by a third country for resettlement through a UNHCR process also needed to obtain exit permission before leaving Turkey. UNHCR reported that, through the end of September, 11,487 Syrians under temporary protection received exit permission and an additional 2,299 non-Syrian conditional refugees received exit permission to resettle to a third country.

INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS (IDPS)

The renewal of conflict between the government and PKK in the southeast in 2015 resulted in hundreds of thousands of IDPs. In some cases those displaced joined IDPs remaining from the conflict between security forces and the PKK between 1984 and the early 2000s. A reduction in urban clashes and government reconstruction efforts during the year permitted some IDPs to return to their homes. Overall numbers remained unclear at year’s end.

The law allows persons who suffered material losses due to terrorist acts, including those by the PKK or by security forces in response to terrorist acts, to apply to the government’s damage determination commissions for compensation. As of October, the government reported it had distributed 222.4 million lira ($60 million) to more than 10,000 victims of displacement due to past PKK terrorism.

PROTECTION OF REFUGEES

The government took steps during the year to increase services provided to the more than three million refugees in the country. A March 2016 agreement between the government and the EU continued to reduce arrivals in Europe of irregular migrants via the Aegean Sea. As of December 10, a total of 28,205 arrivals in Greece from Turkey by sea were reported: 85 percent fewer than in the same period of 2016. By August migrants began using a new, more dangerous route to Romania via the Black Sea.

Refoulement: As of September, UNHCR reported 68 cases of possible refoulement of persons of various nationalities, including Iraqis, Afghans, Iranians, and Syrians. Reports of deportation of larger numbers of individuals, including Syrians and Iraqis, were also received. In June and July, authorities deported several Syrian staff of one international NGO to Sudan. Authorities generally offered protection against refoulement to all non-European asylum seekers who met the definition of a refugee in the 1951 convention, although 68 unconfirmed cases of possible refoulement and hundreds of deportations may have taken place during the year.

Access to Asylum: The law provides for standard treatment of asylum seekers countrywide and establishes a system of protection, but it limits rights granted in the 1951 UN Refugee Convention to refugees from Europe and establishes restrictions on movement for conditional refugees. While non-European asylum seekers were not considered refugees by law, the government granted temporary protection status to Syrians while maintaining conditional/subsidiary refugee status and providing international protection for other asylum seekers. Individuals recognized by the government for temporary protection (Syrians) or conditional/subsidiary refugee status (all other non-Europeans, for example, Iraqis, Iranians, and Somalis) were permitted to reside in the country temporarily.

The law provides regulatory guidelines for foreigners’ entry into, stay in, and exit from the country, and for protection of asylum seekers. The law does not impose a strict time limit to apply for asylum, requiring only that asylum seekers do so “within a reasonable time” after arrival. The law also does not require asylum seekers to present a valid identity document to apply for status.

UNHCR reported that approximately 325,000 persons of concern were registered with UNHCR Turkey as of September, including 137,077 (42 percent) who were Iraqi nationals, 141,247 (44 percent) Afghan nationals, 32,349 (10 percent) Iranian nationals, and 13,442 (4 percent) other nationalities. As of December 9, there were 3,381,005 Syrians registered for temporary protection; as of October 8, there were 231,252 Syrians and 6,853 Iraqis residing in government-run camps, according to Ministry of Interior Directorate General for Migration Management (DGMM) statistics.

UNHCR reported it had intermittent and unpredictable access to detention and removal centers where non-Syrians returned to the country from Greece were detained. UNHCR expressed doubts all readmitted persons had access to the asylum procedure and reported that the access of those readmitted to information, interpretation services, and legal assistance was problematic.

Freedom of Movement: Authorities assigned “conditional refugees” to one of 68 “satellite cities,” where they received services from local authorities under the responsibility of provincial governorates. These asylum seekers were required to check in with local authorities on either a weekly or biweekly basis and needed permission from local authorities to travel to cities other than their assigned city, including for meetings with UNHCR or resettlement-country representatives. Syrians under temporary protection were also restricted by a Ministry of Interior circular from traveling outside of provinces listed on their registration cards without permission. Certain provinces did not accept travel permission requests from Syrians under temporary protection. Syrians were eligible for medical and other services and could qualify for a work permit, although these benefits were limited to the province in which they were registered. Syrians and non-Syrians could request permission to travel or to transfer their registration through the DGMM. Indigent Syrians were at times rounded up and moved to government-run camps in the country’s south. Syrians living in such camps required permission from camp authorities to leave the camps.

Employment: The law allows both Syrians under temporary protection and non-Syrian conditional refugees the right to work, provided they have been registered in the province they wish to work in for six months. Applying for a work permit was the responsibility of the employer, and the procedure was so burdensome and expensive that relatively few employers pursued legally hiring refugees. As a consequence, the vast majority of both conditional refugees and Syrians under temporary protection remained without legal employment options. As a result many refugees remained vulnerable to exploitation, such as withholding of wages and exposure to unsafe work conditions.

Access to Basic Services: The government provided free access to the public medical system to Syrians registered for temporary protection and subsidized medical care to other conditional refugees. The government also expanded access to education for significant numbers of school-age Syrian children. Many encountered challenges overcoming the language barrier or meeting transportation, other costs, or both.

As of November 6, the Ministry of National Education reported that 63 percent of Syrian children in the country were in school, a significant increase from prior years. On November 6, the Ministry of National Education reported that 359,090 Syrian children were enrolled in regular public schools, while 253,513 were enrolled in temporary education centers, for a total of 612,603 school-age Syrian children in school. An estimated 37 percent remained out of school during the 2017-18 school year.

According to a June 8 statement by the Ministry of Family and Social Policies (MOFSP) minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, more than 56,000 refugee children had received approximately 3.8 million lira (one million dollars) cash assistance for education through a joint program with UNICEF that was funded by a foreign government and the EU.

Provincial governments, working with local NGOs, were responsible for meeting the basic needs of refugees and other asylum seekers assigned to satellite cities in their jurisdictions, as well as of the Syrians present in their districts. Basic services were dependent on local officials’ interpretation of the law and their resources. Governors had significant discretion in working with asylum seekers and NGOs, and the assistance provided by local officials to refugees and persons in refugee-like situations varied widely.

Durable Solutions: The law does not provide for durable solutions within the country for Syrians under temporary protection or for conditional refugees, but it allows them to stay until resettled to a foreign country or able to return to their country of origin. The government also granted citizenship to some Syrian refugees on a limited basis. As of September, authorities had granted approximately 50,000 Syrians citizenship between 2010 and 2017, according to the Interior Ministry’s General Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs.

Temporary Protection: The government offered “temporary protection” to Syrian refugees who did not qualify as refugees due to the European-origin limitation in the law. Authorities required Syrian asylum seekers to register with the DGMM to legalize their temporary stay in the country. Syrians who registered with the government were able to receive an identification card, which qualified them for assistance provided through the governorates, including free health care. Residents of the camps received significantly more assistance, including shelter, education, and food support.

Syrians who officially entered the country with passports could receive one-year residence permits upon registration with the government. The government reported that 48,738 Syrians were issued residency permits in 2016. Figures for the year were not available as of December 31.

STATELESS PERSONS

The government identified 117 persons as stateless in 2016. Figures for the year were not available as of December 31. The government provided documentation for children born to conditional refugees and Syrians under temporary protection, although statelessness remained an increasing concern for these children, who could receive neither Turkish citizenship nor documentation from their parents’ home country. According to the MOFSP, as of September, there were more than 225,000 babies born to Syrian mothers in Turkey since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011.

In June the government identified 130 persons living abroad, including two former HDP lawmakers, who it claimed would lose their citizenship if they did not return within three months to face justice for alleged crimes in the country (primarily related to the 2016 coup attempt). At year’s end it remained unclear whether the government followed through with stripping any of them of their citizenship.

Turkmenistan

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The constitution and law do not provide for full freedom of movement.

In-Country Movement: The law requires internal passports and residency permits. Persons residing or working without residency permits face forcible removal to their place of registration. A requirement for a border permit remained in effect for all foreigners wishing to travel to border areas.

The law does not permit dual citizenship. In 2015 all dual citizens were obliged to renounce one of their citizenships if they wanted to travel outside the country. The process of renouncing Turkmen citizenship is not transparent and can take up to a year.

RFE/RL posted an article about additional restrictions taken by Ashgabat city authorities, which significantly reduced the number of cars in the capital. According to RFE/RL, all drivers without Ashgabat license plates approaching the city were required to bypass the city if they were traveling further or to park their cars and continue the journey to the city on taxi or public transport.

Foreign Travel: The government continued to bar certain citizens from departing under its Law on Migration. The law states that citizens of Turkmenistan may be denied exit from Turkmenistan “if their exit contravenes the interests of national security of Turkmenistan.” “Prove They Are Alive!” reported that any of the country’s law enforcement bodies can initiate a travel ban on a citizen and that travelers in various categories may be denied departure, including: young men obliged to military service; persons facing criminal and civil charges or under probationary sentence; relatives of persons reportedly convicted and imprisoned for the 2002 alleged assassination attempt; as well as journalists, civil society activists, and their family members. Although the government denied maintaining a “black list” of local persons not permitted to travel abroad, ANT reported that such a list existed and contained approximately 17,000 names. According to various sources, in most cases, travelers who were stopped were not given an explanation for denial of departure and were only informed of the ban upon attempting foreign travel from the airport. Some individuals were able to obtain documentation from the State Migration Service (SMS) later stating they were not allowed to depart the country, but without justification for the ban. In some cases, authorities initially denied travelers departure from the country, but after several days, or in some cases weeks, the travelers were allowed to depart without explanation for the delay.

The government routinely prevented citizens from travelling abroad for programs sponsored by foreign governments, unless the program was specifically approved in advance by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Migration officials often stopped “nonapproved” travelers at the airport and prevented them from leaving. In some cases, however, those traveling for approved programs were also not allowed to depart or were delayed.

The Law on Migration provides for restrictions on travel by citizens who had access to state secrets, presented falsified personal information, committed a serious crime, were under surveillance, might become victims of trafficking, previously violated the law of the destination country, or whose travel contradicts the interests of national security. In some cases, the law provides for time limits on the travel ban as well as fines for its infraction. Former public-sector employees who had access to state secrets were prevented from traveling abroad for five years after terminating their employment with the government. The law allows authorities to forbid recipients of presidential amnesties from traveling abroad for a period of up to two years. The law also allows the government to impose limitations on obtaining education in specific professions and specialties.

RFE/RL reported that in March, authorities questioned citizens returning from Turkey and Ukraine. Citizens returning from these countries were forced to sign a written statement abstaining from visiting “dangerous countries.” RFE/RL claimed that authorities considered Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and Ukraine as dangerous countries. In March the SMS reduced the validity of passports from 10 years to five years. According to local observers, the move forced citizens abroad to “check-in” with the SMS every five years, and enabled the SMS to monitor and control the movement of citizens who stayed abroad.

In its 2016-2017 annual report, AI stated that arbitrary restrictions on the right to travel abroad remained in practice. According to AI, the government targeted, among others, relatives of those accused of involvement in the alleged attempt to assassinate President Niyazov in 2002, relatives of opposition figures residing abroad, civil society activists, students, journalists, and former migrant workers.

Exile: The law provides for internal exile, requiring persons to reside in a certain area for a fixed term of two to five years.

PROTECTION OF REFUGEES

While formally there is a system for granting refugee status, it was inactive. In 2009 the government assumed responsibility from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for making refugee status determinations but has not granted refugee status since. UNHCR had observer status at government-run refugee-status determination hearings. Persons determined by the government not to be refugees obtained mandate refugee status from UNHCR. Mandate refugees were required to renew UNHCR certificates with the government annually. In 2015 UNHCR reported that 27 UNHCR mandate refugees resided in the country, but it provided no updates for 2016 or 2017. The country did not grant citizenship to any UNHCR mandate refugees during the year.

In 2014 the government amended the Law on Migration to permit refugees to receive, at no charge, biometric identification and travel documents compliant with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

In June the government published an updated law on refugees. The law includes the creation of temporary accommodation facilities located along the border of mass refugee inflow. The law also provides for the temporary protection of refugees arriving in an emergency. The previous law stated that the SMS review refugee status applications within three months. The new law states that the SMS can extend its review up to a year.

Access to Asylum: The laws provide for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. The country has not granted asylum since 2005.

STATELESS PERSONS

The country had a significant population of former Soviet Union citizens who became stateless due to the breakup of the Soviet Union. In 2015 UNHCR estimated there were 7,111 stateless persons or persons of underdetermined nationality in the country. The number of stateless persons who were also refugees was not available. Citizenship is derived primarily from one’s parents. The requirement that applicants for citizenship prove they are not citizens of another country impeded efforts to establish the nationality of undocumented persons. According to UNHCR, however, in the past 10 years, the government granted citizenship to an estimated 18,000 stateless persons. In 2016 the government granted citizenship to 1,381 stateless persons residing in the country. During the year the government did not grant any stateless person citizenship. The Law on Migration allows stateless persons to reside in the country legally and travel internationally with government-issued identification and travel documents.

Undocumented stateless persons did not have access to public benefits, education, or employment opportunities.

Uganda

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

United Arab Emirates

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The law generally provided for freedom of internal movement, emigration, and repatriation. While the government generally respected these rights, the government imposed certain legal restrictions on foreign travel. The lack of passports or other identity documents restricted the movement of stateless persons, both within the country and internationally. The government allowed the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations to provide protection and assistance to refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and other persons of concern.

Foreign Travel: Authorities generally did not permit citizens and residents involved in legal disputes under adjudication, and noncitizens under investigation to travel abroad. In addition, authorities sometimes arrested individuals with outstanding debts or legal cases while in transit through an airport.

At the sole discretion of emirate-level prosecutors, foreign nationals had their passports taken or travel restricted during criminal and civil investigations. Some individuals were also banned from foreign travel. These measures posed particular problems for noncitizen debtors, who in addition to being unable to leave the country, were usually unable to find work without a passport and valid residence permit, making it impossible to repay their debts or maintain legal residency. In some cases, family, friends, local religious organizations, or other concerned individuals helped pay off the debt and enabled the indebted foreign national to depart the country. According to media reports, rulers of various emirates pardoned 1,907 prisoners during Eid al-Adha and the president pledged to settle financial obligations of released prisoners.

Travel bans were placed on citizens. For example, citizens of interest for reasons of state security, including former political prisoners, encountered difficulties renewing official documents, resulting in de facto travel bans.

Authorities did not lift travel bans until the completion of a case in the judicial system. In complex cases, particularly in the investigation of financial crimes, travel bans remained in place for three years or more.

On June 5, the government and several other regional countries severed diplomatic ties with Qatar and enacted a blockade on air, sea, and land traffic to and from Qatar. Qatari citizens were given until June 19 to leave the UAE and were banned from traveling to and transiting the UAE. Emirati citizens were banned from visiting or transiting through Qatar. The UAE Ministry of Interior established a hotline to assist blended Qatari-Emirati families, allowing them to remain in the UAE on a case-by-case basis.

Custom dictates that a husband may prevent his wife, minor children, and adult unmarried daughters from leaving the country by taking custody of their passports.

Citizenship: The government may revoke naturalized citizens’ passports and citizenship status for criminal or politically provocative actions.

PROTECTION OF REFUGEES

UNHCR lacked formal legal status in the country separate from the UN Development Program. The government nevertheless worked with UNHCR on a case-by-case basis to address refugee issues. The government did not formally grant refugee status or asylum to aliens seeking protection, but it allowed some refugees to remain in the country temporarily on an individual basis. This nonpermanent status often presented administrative, financial, and social hardships, including the need frequently to renew visas and the inability to access basic services such as health care and education for children. There were no reports the government sent individuals who expressed a fear of return, back to their country of origin against their will.

Access to Asylum: The law does not provide for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government had not established a transparent, codified system for providing protection to refugees. While the government extended informal protection from return to refugees in some cases, any persons lacking legal residency status were technically subject to local laws on illegal immigrants, and authorities could detain them. In some cases, authorities confined individuals seeking protection at an airport to a specific section of the airport while they awaited resettlement in another country.

Employment: Access to employment was based on an individual’s status as a legal resident, and persons with a claim to refugee status, including those with either short-term visitor visas or expired visas, were generally not eligible for employment.

Access to Basic Services: Access to education and other public services, including health care, is based on an individual’s status as a legal resident. As a result, some families, particularly from Iraq and Syria, reportedly did not have access to healthcare or schools. The government provided or allowed access to some services on a case-by-case basis, often after the intervention of UNHCR representatives. Some hospitals were willing to see patients without the mandatory insurance, but required full payment up front.

STATELESS PERSONS

Estimates suggested 20,000 to 100,000 Bidoon, or persons without citizenship, resided in the country. Most Bidoon lacked citizenship because they did not have the preferred tribal affiliation used to determine citizenship when the country was established. Others entered the country legally or illegally in search of employment. Because children derive citizenship generally from the father, Bidoon children born within the country’s territory remained stateless. Without passports or other forms of identification, the movement of Bidoon was restricted, both within the country and internationally. In recent years, the government purchased a number of passports from Comoros and issued them to Bidoon. The documents conferred economic Comoran citizenship on the recipients and legalized their status in the UAE.

The government has a naturalization process, and individuals may apply for citizenship. Children of female citizens married to noncitizens do not acquire citizenship automatically at birth, but their mothers may obtain citizenship for the children after submitting an application, which a government committee reviews and generally accepts, once the child is 18 years old. A foreign woman may receive citizenship after 10 years of marriage to a citizen. Anyone may receive a passport by presidential fiat.

The committee that reviews mothers’ citizenship applications for their children also reviews citizenship applications from Bidoon who could satisfy certain legal conditions to be eligible for naturalization and subsequently could gain access to education, health care, and other public services. There were no reports, however, of stateless persons receiving Emirati citizenship.

Uzbekistan

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The constitution and laws provide for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, but the government limited these rights, in particular through the continued requirement for citizens to receive an exit visa for travel outside the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

In-country Movement: Citizens were required to have a domicile registration stamp in their passport before traveling domestically or leaving the country, and the government at times delayed domestic and foreign travel and emigration during the visa application process. Permission from local authorities was required to move to Tashkent City or the Tashkent Region from other parts of the country. During the year authorities eased requirements for securing Tashkent residency permits by allowing any Uzbek citizen to obtain residency with the purchase of real estate in excess of 720 million soms ($90,000). Those living and working without Tashkent City or Tashkent Region registration were unable to receive city services and could not legally work, send their children to school, or receive routine medical care.

The government required hotels to register foreign visitors with the government on a daily basis. Foreigners staying in private homes were required to register their location within three days of arrival. Government officials closely monitored foreigners in border areas, but foreigners generally could move within the country without restriction.

Foreign Travel: The government occasionally closed borders around national holidays due to security concerns. The government generally granted the requisite exit visas for citizens and foreign permanent residents to travel or emigrate outside the CIS. Exit visa procedures, however, allow authorities to deny travel based on “information demonstrating the inexpedience of the travel.” According to civil society activists, these provisions were poorly defined and denials could not be appealed. Authorities sometimes interfered in foreign travel if the purpose of the trip was expressly religious in nature.

The government requires male relatives of women between the ages of 18 and 35 to submit a statement pledging that the women would not engage in illegal behavior, including prostitution, while abroad, a regulation the government stated is aimed at combating trafficking in persons. Observers noted, however, that the majority of Uzbek trafficking victims abroad were male victims of labor trafficking.

Although the law requires authorities to reach a decision on issuing exit visas within 15 days, the government reportedly delayed exit visas for human rights activists and former political prisoners, such as Murod Juraev and Mukhammad Bekjanov. Murad Juraev applied for an exit visa in April and was approved to travel abroad at the end of October. Violating rules for exiting or entering the country is punishable by imprisonment of five to 10 years.

PROTECTION OF REFUGEES

Refoulement: The government provided some protection against the expulsion or return of refugees to countries where their lives or freedom would be threatened due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Access to Asylum: The laws do not provide for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has not established a system for providing protection to refugees.

In the absence of a resident Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Development Program (UNDP) continued to assist with monitoring and resettlement processing of 18 pending (predominantly Afghan) refugee cases involving 27 individuals; such cases predated the closure of the local UNHCR office in 2006. During the year UNDP and temporary duty UNHCR staff processed five cases involving seven persons. Because the UNDP does not process new claims or make refugee status determinations, it referred potential applicants to UNHCR offices in neighboring countries.

The government did not accept UNHCR mandate certificates as a basis for extended legal residence; persons carrying such certificates must apply for either tourist visas or residence permits or face possible deportation. Residence permits were difficult to obtain. The government considered UNHCR mandate refugees from Afghanistan and Tajikistan to be economic migrants, and officials occasionally subjected them to harassment and demands for bribes. Most refugees from Tajikistan were ethnic Uzbeks. Unlike refugees from Afghanistan, those from Tajikistan were able to integrate into the local communities, and the local population supported them.

STATELESS PERSONS

Some refugees from Tajikistan were officially stateless or faced the possibility of becoming officially stateless, as many carried only old Soviet passports rather than Tajik or Uzbek passports. Children born to two stateless parents could receive Uzbek citizenship only if both parents had a residence permit.

Although official data on the number of stateless persons was not available, authoritative human rights activists estimated there were 3,000 stateless persons in Khorezm Province, Bukhara Province, and the autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan. Most of these individuals reportedly were women who had married and lived in neighboring Turkmenistan prior to the country’s independence in 1991. There also were reports of stateless populations in Sirdaryo and Qashkadaryo Provinces. There were reports of authorities revoking citizenship for ethnic Tajiks on allegations of fraud, even in cases where Uzbek passports had been issued more than a decade ago, rendering such persons stateless.

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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future