International organization helps repatriate more than 770 Tajik nationals stranded in Kazakhstan

12 months ago Web Desk 0

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), an intergovernmental organization that provides services and advice concerning migration to governments and migrants, once again has supported the voluntary return home of 776 Tajik nationals stranded at the Kazak-Uzbek border for eleven days due to restrictions imposed in the wake of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).


IOM, UNICEF and the Government of Tajikistan collaboratively contributed to the return home of Tajik labor migrants stranded at the Zhibek Zholi border crossing point (BCP) on the Kazakh-Uzbek border due to the coronavirus crisis.


According to IOM, the group of 776 Tajik nationals, including more than 40 children, were returned home by buses through Uzbekistan to Tajik northern province of Sughd on July 3.


Radio Liberty reported on July 3 that almost 2,000 Tajik and Uzbek citizens are stranded in Kazakhstan’s southern region of Turkistan because they are unable to travel back home due to restrictions imposed to combat the coronavirus pandemic.


The majority of those stranded at the Zhibek Zholy checkpoint are male labor migrants who lost their jobs in Kazakhstan after many businesses shut down following lockdown measures, Radio Liberty said.


Some of them told RFE/RL that they have been waiting for Uzbekistan to open the border crossing for more than a week.


They complained that they have to stay outdoors and that the weather is very hot during the daytime and cold at night.


A representative of Tajikistan’s embassy in Kazakhstan, who was standing near four large tents that had been set up at the site to accommodate Tajik nationals, reportedly refused to comment on the matter.


An Uzbek Embassy official, Bahtiyor Kamalov, was also at the site. He reportedly told RFE/RL that the authorities were not opening the border because many individuals who had entered Uzbekistan from Kazakhstan remained in quarantine inside the country.


Kamalov added that some 1,500 Uzbek citizens stranded at the border will be transferred to Uzbekistan “soon.”


Kazakh border guard officials reportedly said they would allow Uzbek and Tajik citizens to cross the border when their Uzbek colleagues allow it.


Recall, IOM on June 19 organized transportation by bus to repatriate 635 Tajik citizens stranded at the Zhibek Zholy checkpoint.