DUSHANBE, February 5, 2014, Asia-Plus – The European Union is launching a new project to support migrants and their families.

Press release issued by the Delegation of the European Union to Tajikistan notes that most migrant workers from Tajikistan work in low paid and unskilled jobs.  They face a variety of rights abuse and maltreatment in Russia.  They are unfamiliar with their rights and responsibilities in the country where they usually work.  As a result, they face many difficulties in employment, movement and lack access to services aimed at protecting their rights.

That is the background of a new project named “Migrant Workers and Their Families: Empowered Institutions - Protected Rights”. The project aims at promoting and protecting the rights of Tajik migrant workers and the members of their families (MWATF) through improving capacity of Government Institutions (GI) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and enhancing the cooperation among these institutions.

The project is funded by the European Union and will be implemented by DanChurchAid (DCA) Central Asia acting in partnership with the Public Organization Human Rights Center (HRC), Public Organization Ghamkhori (Gh) and Public Organization Center on Mental Health and HIV/AIDS (MHAIDS) in Tajikistan.  Budget of MWATF consists of EUR 300 000 provided by the European Union and EUR 160,000 provided by the lead implementing organization DanChurchAid.

Migrant workers’ families have limited access to medical and education services, they do not fall into official categories of vulnerable groups by the state when it comes to social support and their vulnerability is therefore invisible to the state institutions.  The project will empower migrant workers’ families, including potential migrants residing in their communities to advocate for policy change through their representation in the form of initiative groups and self-help groups.  These grassroots level institutions will engage with state institutions and local representatives and solve migration issues together. In addition, the project will provide migrant workers and their families with an opportunity to get information about available legal remedies, services and referral system.

The project is under the “European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) Country Based Support Schemes (CBSS)” program – and will be implemented in Tajikistan particularly in Dushanbe, Hisor district and Khatlon province (Vakhsh, Bohtar, and Jomi districts).  The duration of the project will be 24 months.  The project will start in February 2014.

Three government institutions (MS, MFA and the Ombudsman’s office) and Civil Society Organizations are involved under the project to improve capacity and enhance the cooperation among these institutions. The project will create a discussion platform for the key state institutions aimed at improving interagency collaboration, effective service provision and technical support in regulating labor migration. Civil Society Organizations in their turn will put their emphasis on working in the defense and promotion of migrant rights in Tajikistan, and they will increase capacity to effectively engage at the national level in the policy formulation processes.

Under overall activities of the project, following results are expected to achieve: raised awareness of migrant workers and their families about existing legal remedies, services and referral system and their capacity improved. Migrant workers informed about new referral mechanisms using public dissemination and new information communication technologies (ICT).  Migrant workers and members of their families empowered to advocate policy change at the local level.  Cohesive referral system among state institutions and NGOs established.  Data collection system on MWATF established and introduced to state services.  Access of migrant workers to existing legal remedies in Russia improved. Capacity of state institutions on regulation of labor migration increased.