High Commissioner in Tajikistan

Briefing Notes, 1 April 2008

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 1 April 2008, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

High Commissioner António Guterres is on the second day of a three-day visit to the Republic of Tajikistan. Yesterday (Monday), Guterres met President Emomali Rahmon as well as the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Labour and Interior. He had fruitful discussions on the integration of some 1,000 Afghans who have been refugees in Tajikistan for up to 20 years, as well as on the improvement of the national asylum systems in the country. Over the past 15 years, UNHCR has enjoyed an excellent working relationship with the Government of Tajikistan.

Today, Mr. Guterres will be visiting projects outside Dushanbe, and tomorrow he will be returning to attend the opening of vocational training projects at a refugee training centre in the capital.

In 1993, Tajikistan was the first country in Central Asia to accede to the 1951 Convention and its 1967 Protocol on the status of refugees. It was also the first country to adopt national refugee legislation. Tajikistan currently hosts 1,710 refugees and asylum seekers, mostly from Afghanistan.

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The High Commissioner

António Guterres, who joined UNHCR on June 15, 2005, is the UN refugee agency's 10th High Commissioner.

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