Refugees: General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord in Tajikistan

Statute of the Commission on National Reconciliation (21 February 1997)

III. Functions and Powers of the Commission:

7. The Commission shall have the following functions and powers:
Implementing measures for the safe and appropriate return of the refugees and their active involvement in the social, political and economic life of the country, and provision of assistance in reconstruction of the housing and industrial and agricultural facilities destroyed by the warfare.

Protocol on Refugees (13 January 1997)

With a view to overcoming the consequences of the civil war and achieving peace and national accord in the country, and in accordance with the protocol on the fundamental principles for establishing peace and national accord in Tajikistan of 17 August 1995, the joint statement on the results of the fourth round of inter-Tajik talks in Almaty and the appeal by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Mr. Emomali S. Rakhmonov, and the leader of the United Tajik Opposition, Mr. S. Abdullo Nuri, to their fellow countrymen who had been forced to leave the country, adopted in Moscow on 23 December 1996, the delegations of the Republic of Tajikistan and the United Tajik Opposition (hereinafter referred to as "the Parties"), have agreed as follows:

1. To step up mutual efforts to ensure the voluntary return, in safety and dignity, of all refugees and displaced persons to their homes, and to complete this process within 12 to 18 months from the date of signature of this Protocol. With a view to ensuring their safety, honour and dignity, the Parties also call upon the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide assistance in order to ensure the safety of returning refugees and displaced persons and to establish and expand their presence at places where such persons are living.

2. The Government of the Republic of Tajikistan assumes the obligation to reintegrate returning refugees and displaced persons into the social and economic life of the country, which includes the provision to them of humanitarian and financial aid, assistance in finding employment and housing and the restoration of all their rights as citizens of the Republic of Tajikistan (including the return to them of dwellings and property and guaranteed uninterrupted service), and not to institute criminal proceedings against returning refugees or displaced persons for their participation in the political confrontation and the civil war, in accordance with the legislative acts in force in the Republic.

3. The Parties have decided to resume the work of the Joint Commission on problems relating to refugees and, within one month from the date of signature of this Protocol, with the assistance of UNHCR, to draw up a statute of the Commission.

4. The Parties have decided to instruct the Joint Commission, with the participation of representatives of local hukumats (executive committees) and the United Tajik Opposition for the period during which this Protocol is being implemented, to visit on a regular basis, in accordance with a separate timetable, refugee camps in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, places in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) where there are concentrations of refugees and districts in the Republic of Tajikistan to which refugees and displaced persons intend to return. Similar visits shall be organized by the Joint Commission to places where displaced persons live in large numbers. The above-mentioned timetable shall be agreed by the Joint Commission within one month from the date of signature of this Protocol.

5. The Parties appeal to the Governments of the CIS States to consider issuing temporary identity documents to refugees from Tajikistan and to assist UNHCR in carrying out additional measures to ensure the safety of refugees and to defend their honor and dignity.

6. The Parties express their sincere gratitude to the United Nations, UNHCR, OSCE, donor countries and the Aga Khan Foundation for their assistance and at the same time make an urgent appeal to them and to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Development Bank, the Islamic Bank and the Aga Khan Foundation to provide additional and substantial financial and material support to refugees and displaced persons and to the Joint Commission on problems relating to refugees, and also for the purpose of rehabilitating the national economy destroyed by the war and improving the well-being of the population.

Implementation History

1997

Intermediate Implementation

Many refugees had returned between 1994 and 1996 - before the Commission on National Reconciliation (CNR) began to function. The Protocol on Refugees had established a timeline of 12 to 18 months for the return of refugees and called for the reactivation of the Joint Commission on Refugees. The commission was not reactivated as of June 1997 but refugees and IDPs had already started to return.1 

From July of 1997 to November, roughly 6,700 refugees were reported as having returned to Tajikistan from Qunduz.2 Rashid Abdullo, who served on the staff of UNMOT, reported that tens of thousands of refugees returned home within the first 3 to 4 months.3 Smith (1999) reported another 3,158 people returning from the Sakhi camp near Mazar-i-Sharif on 15 November 1997.4  It was reported that many IDPs and refugees found their homes illegally occupied, but a viable effort seems to have been made to evict the illegal inhabitants.5 

  • 1. "UN Security Council extends mandate of Tajikistan Observer Mission for three months, to 15 Sept," M2 PRESSWIRE, June 13, 1997.
  • 2. "Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation in Tajikistan," United Nations (S/1997/859), November 5, 1997.
  • 3. Rashid Abdullo, "Implementation of the 1997 General Agreement: Success, Dilemmas, and Challenges," in Politics of Compromise: the Tajikistan Peace Process, eds. K. Abdullaev and C. Barnes (London: Conciliation Resources, 2001), Accord 10: 48–53.
  • 4. Grant R. Smith, “Tajikistan: The Rocky Road to Peace,” Central Asian Survey 18, no. 2 (1999):243-251.
  • 5. "Tajikistan Report on Human Rights Practices for 1996," U.S. State Department, 1997.
1998

Intermediate Implementation

In 1998 refugees who had fled to Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan began to come back with assistance from UNHCR and IOM.6 

  • 6. Grant R. Smith, “Tajikistan: The Rocky Road to Peace.”
1999

Intermediate Implementation

It was reported that 4,000 refugees from Turkmenistan, 1,000 from Kyrgyzstan and 1,000 from Kazakhstan were expected to return home in 1999.7 From January to November of 1999, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees stated that assistence had been given to 4,119 Tajik refugees from various countries.8 

  • 7. "Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation in Tajikistan," United Nations (S/1999/514), May 6, 1999.
  • 8. "Report of the Secretary-General on the Situation in Tajikistan," United Nations (S/1999/1127), November 4, 1999.
2000

Full Implementation

It was reported in several sources that the majority of refugees had returned to their homes by mid-2000.9 Shukurjon Zukhurov, who was in charge of reconstruction projects, estimated that roughly 100,000 refugees had returned home (as of early 2000).10   

  • 9. "Chronology," in Politics of Compromise: the Tajikistan Peace Process, eds. K. Abdullaev and C. Barnes (London: Conciliation Resources, 2001), Accord 10: 82-87.
  • 10. "Unsteady peace in Tajikistan as transition ends," Agence France Presse, February 26, 2000.
2001

Full Implementation

The refugee return process was completed in 2000. After 2000, there were no further reports of repatriation activities. 

2002

Full Implementation

There were no further reports of repatriation activities. 

2003

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2004

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2005

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.

2006

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.