Refugees find a new home in Turkmenistan

These days, 786 people have received passports of the citizen of Turkmenistan most of whom were refugees residing in the country. Granting citizenship aims to improve the social situation of these people giving them the opportunity to enjoy numerous benefits and providing access to education, employment, medical and other services.

The government creates every possible condition for their dignified life. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have recognized the practical experience of the social and legal integration of refugees in Turkmenistan as unprecedented in its scale and importance.

The reason being the provision of the Turkmen citizenship and residency in Turkmenistan for thousands of displaced people and refugees. In 2005 more than 13 000 people, including 9500 refugees, were granted Turkmen citizenship. Additionally, more than 3000 people had received a residence permit, 1800 out of them were also refugees.

During the period 2011 – 2013, 4000 stateless persons permanently residing in the country were admitted to the Turkmen citizenship. Being giddied by the universally recognized norms of international law as well as the national traditions of humanism and the hospitality of the Turkmen people, the Government of Turkmenistan creates all conditions for residency, in particular, provides housing, employment, and in rural areas allocates plots of land for agricultural activity.

All social services are also fully provided. It is well known that the problem of refugees and stateless persons, resulting from conflicts and civil strife in countries with unstable situation, is becoming increasingly important. This is evidenced by the events taking place today in several countries where armed conflicts cause people to leave their homeland and seek refuge in neighboring countries. According to the Turkmen leader this is « one of the main topics on the international agenda », and ways of solving the problems of refugees and stateless persons are of particular relevance in regional as well as global scope.

Turkmenistan, having joined a number of key international instruments on human rights, including the Convention on the Status of Refugees and the Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons, brings its national legislation in accordance with universally recognized norms of international law, including regulating the legal status of refugees and providing guarantees for their rights and freedoms. Consistently fulfilling its international commitments Turkmenistan initiates international high-level meetings to discuss issues related to protection of the rights of refugees, the development of effective measures to solve existing problems.

Among the most significant of them is « International Conference on migration and statelessness: Identifying challenges and the way forward » held on 23-24 June 2014 in Ashgabat and organized by the Government of Turkmenistan jointly with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration. The Conference gathered official delegations from 32 countries and 16 authoritative international organizations, non-governmental agencies, as well as Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Ambassador William Lacy Swing and Director for International Protection of the Office of High Commissioner for Refugees Volker Turk.

It is worth to mention that Turkmenistan is a permanent member of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme. It is also a Member State of the International Organization for Migration. Turkmenistan positions itself as a strategic member of the global international processes in these areas. At the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly Turkmenistan proposed to consider the inclusion of humanitarian issues in the post-2015 Development Agenda as a separate distinct dimension. In particular, it has been proposed to develop a platform of UN actions designed to become a political and legal basis for international activities in the humanitarian dimension. Turkmenistan considers migration, asylum, rights of refugees and stateless persons as important directions of cooperation in this sphere.

Turkmen State News Agency