Overview of the speech of the Director of the UN Regional Office of High Commissioner on Refugees Yasuko Oda
(Ashgabat, 14 January 2020)
Having expressed deep gratitude to the Government of Turkmenistan for multiyear successful cooperation with the UNHCR Office, she mentioned recent participation of high-level Turkmen delegation in two main global events held in Geneva.
One of those is the Global Forum on Refugees that took place last month, where a wide range of important measures in regard to refugees and parties accepting them around the world, in accordance with the obligations of more expanded international distribution of responsibility are embedded in the Global Compact on Refugees.
And in October of last year, Turkmenistan participated to the first high level segment on statelessness, marking the end of the first half of the global campaign on eliminating the statelessness till 2024.
Expressing gratitude for specific statements made by Turkmenistan at these important forums, Ms.Oda noted that by thus, our country has demonstrated high level of commitment to protection of refugees and efforts for solution of problem of stateless persons.
The UNHCR has established its office in Ashgabat in July 1995. Many things have been achieved since then. The country has ratified all four UN Conventions on refugees and stateless persons. Turkmenistan is the first and only country in Central Asia, which has joined the conventions of stateless persons. In April 2011, Turkmenistan has been elected as a member of the UNHCR Executive Committee and the National Action Plan for elimination of statelessness has been adopted last year.
The UNHCR also hopes to join the country groups of the UN for support in conduct of the next national population census in Central Asia including Turkmenistan.
Ms. Yasuko Oda reminded the participants that Turkmenistan received thousands refugees from Afghanistan from the first days of independence and not only provided protection of these people, but also gave them access to education, health protection and agricultural lands for their deserving life. Many people received citizenship. This achievement has to be highlighted as one of the best world practices, she highlighted.
Director of the Regional Office of the UN Commissioner on Refugees has also expressed gratitude to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov for invitation of refugee sportsmen from Kenia to take part in the Asian Games in 2017, as well as for conducting the Conference on refugee problems in the Muslim world in 2012 together with the UNHCR and the Islamic Cooperation Organization, which resulted in adoption of the Ashgabat Declaration calling for close cooperation of all interested countries for solution of problems of refugees and stateless persons.
She has also outlined another important direction of cooperation – the readiness for emergencies. The UNHCR and Turkmenistan conduct annual trainings in this direction. It will not be an exaggeration in any case to give high appraisal of the reasonable discretion, regular staff training, preparedness to any kind of urgency situations, as well as the timely adoption of the necessary measures for the most volatile layers of population.
Based on these concrete efforts in Turkmenistan and in the region, as well as taking into account the Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, UNHCR Regional Strategy for Central Asia for 2020-2021 is consisting of three directions – statelessness, refugees and readiness to urgency situations jointly with the governments.