IOM launches a country-wide campaign on International Migrants Day

In recognition of International Migrants Day, the IOM Mission in Tajikistan along with the relevant state ministries and committees, international and civil society partners in cooperation with local authorities, communities, universities, colleges, schools and mass media organized a series of public events in the capital and throughout Tajikistan.

This year’s broad range of events aimed to highlight a socio-economic contribution made by Tajik migrant workers through remittances inflows into the country, while bringing to light also the risks associated with irregular migration and dangers of human trafficking, HIV- and TB-related mortality, and concerns over an expulsion of Tajik nationals from hosting countries.

The event organized jointly with the Migration Service introduced local and international participants with activities of the Migration Service accomplished during 2014. Anvar Boboev, Head of the Migration Service also provided updates on migration statistics, which have become a major issue and topic for discussion among participants who made recommendations on how to improve information on migrants as they leave Tajikistan. The event also featured a presentation by Qurbonali Mahmadov, Head of International Relations Department, who talked about commitments of the Government of Tajikistan with regard to the National Action Plan for 2013-2015 developed and approved by the government based on recommendations of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

The campaigns organized at the Dushanbe International Airport, which included dissemination of various informational materials to migrant workers planning to migrate, and individual and group consultations, gave an opportunity to migrant workers and their families to increase awareness and knowledge on HIV/AIDS, STIs and TB prevention and treatment, as well as to identify and report suspected cases of human trafficking, and finally to ensure migrants know their rights and choose safe and regular migration channels. IOM and the Migration Service’s designated legal consultants responded to various questions raised by migrants. Volunteer students also contributed enormously in terms of distributing educational materials and providing detailed information about health and irregular migration related issues to the migrants.

Similar events and issues were discussed in Tojikobod and Kulob since the targeted Rasht Valley and Khatlon province of Tajikistan have one of the highest rates of out migration. In Tojikobod, IOM in partnership with NGO Surhob, local authorities, including Committee on Women and Family Affairs and Migration Service organized awareness activities primarily targeting young men and women. The Rasht Valley of Tajikistan traditionally has a stronger conservative mentality and patriarchal system compared to the other regions of the country, therefore, it turned out to be difficult to mobilize female beneficiaries to participate in awareness-raising events. For this reason, the organizers decided to change the programme and use the fact that the audience was dominated by men to advocate the benefits of educating girls and inform the audience about national laws protecting women. The event was opened by a concert of local musicians followed by short theatre scenes portraying the life of migrants and their families.

In contrast to the events in Tojikobod, in Kulob the audience brought together more than 60 women and children from migrants’ families. During the event women were divided into groups which prepared and performed short theatrical performances describing the local women’s lives, while the children took part in a drawing competition and received prizes.