United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

24 October 1996



General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 110 (c)


                         Internally displaced persons

                         Note by the Secretary-General


     The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the members of
the General Assembly the report prepared by the Representative of the
Secretary-General on internally displaced persons, Mr. Francis Deng
(Sudan), in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution
1995/57 of 3 March 1995 and Economic and Social Council decision
1995/273 of 25 July 1995.


                Report on internally displaced persons prepared by
                the Representative of the Secretary-General, 
                Mr. Francis Deng, in accordance with Commission on
                Human Rights resolution 1995/57 of 3 March 1995 and
                Economic and Social Council decision 1995/273 of
                                 25 July 1995

                     Profiles in displacement:  Tajikistan


                                                              Paragraphs Page

 I.   INTRODUCTION .........................................     1 - 8     3


      A. Social and economic characteristics ..............      9 - 14    5

      B. Independence and civil war .......................     15 - 28    6

III.  PATTERNS OF DISPLACEMENT AND RESPONSES ...............    29 - 59   10

      A. Patterns of displacement .........................        29     10

      B. Assistance provided during displacement ..........     30 - 31   10

      C. Return of the displaced ..........................     32 - 34   11

      D. Measures taken to facilitate resettlement ........     35 - 59   11

IV.   REINTEGRATION - FROM RELIEF TO DEVELOPMENT ...........    60 - 96   18

      A. Achieving self-reliance ..........................     62 - 73   19

      B. Promotion and protection of human rights .........     74 - 96   22

 V.   THE QUEST FOR PEACE ..................................    97 - 112  28

      A. Political negotiations and peacekeeping ..........     97 - 107  28

      B. Conflict configuration at the regional level .....    108 - 110  30

      C. Activities to foster reconciliation at the 
         grass-roots level ................................    111 - 112  31

VI.   CONCLUSIONS ..........................................   113 - 125  32

                               I.  INTRODUCTION

1.   The main cause of displacement in Tajikistan has been the civil war that
took place during the second half of 1992.  More than 20,000 persons were
killed 1/ out of a population of about five and a half million. 2/  The
fighting led to the exile of approximately 100,000 persons into neighbouring
countries 3/ and the internal displacement of some 600,000. 4/  The internally
displaced population comprised mainly civilians from the south-western part of
the country in search of safety in the cities or in their ancestral homes.

2.   While displacement in Tajikistan shares common characteristics with
other conflict situations, it also demonstrates distinct features.  With the
collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which created a power
vacuum, latent conflicts erupted among different ethnic groups within the
artificial borders of states.  In Tajikistan, antagonism quickly emerged
between those wanting to preserve the current system and power structures and
those challenging the regime by advocating reforms.  The conflict was
compounded by regional differences, with ethnic and political affiliations. 
It gradually degenerated into widespread violence, perpetrated by proponents
of both sides, and escalated into civil war.  Furthermore, the acute armed
conflict resulted in massive upheavals and dislocation of populations. 
However, the armed conflict was relatively short-lived, and the Government
attached a high priority to a prompt return of civilians.  It was also willing
to accept offers of international assistance at an early stage.  Thus, the
international community was able to facilitate in a comprehensive and
effective manner the return of the displaced.  The majority of the civilians
were able to return to their home areas within a few months after their
displacement.  By March 1993, 70 per cent of the internally displaced had
returned to their villages. 5/

3.   Although most of those internally displaced by the civil war have
returned, 6/  their successful integration, as well as the return of those who
remain displaced, will depend on the extent to which Tajikistan can overcome
the challenges of economic and social reconstruction after the devastating
effects of the civil war, and progressively adapt the country to a new
political and economic environment.  Reconstruction and development, however,
cannot be fully carried out before the underlying causes of the conflict have
been addressed and resolved through peaceful means.  In this regard, it is
worth noting that the currently deteriorating security situation and recent
hostilities in some areas of Tajikistan are generating new displacements. 7/

4.   The Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced
persons initially requested to visit Tajikistan in February 1994.  He
reiterated his request in June 1995 and February 1996, at which point the
Government extended an invitation for him to visit the country.  The mission
was eventually carried out between 1 and 12 June 1996.  Besides focusing on
the current conditions of those who remain internally displaced and those who
returned after the civil war, the purpose of the mission was to study how the
return was achieved and how further displacements could be prevented.

5.   The Representative wishes to express his appreciation to the Government
of Tajikistan for having invited him to visit the country, and for the candid
and open attitude of his interlocutors.

6.   During his mission, the Representative met with the Prime Minister, the
Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Interior, senior officials from the
Ministries of Justice and Labour, as well as with the Prosecutor-General.  He
also had meetings with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for
Tajikistan, the representatives of the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), representatives of United Nations agencies and
programmes, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Food
Programme (WFP), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the United
Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT), and other local and
international organizations and members of the diplomatic corps.  The
Representative visited internally displaced persons in Khorog and Rushan,
located in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast. 8/  He also visited
returnee sites in the capital, Dushanbe, as well as in Bokhtar, Shartuz and
Kabodian, located in the Kurgan-Tyube region of the Khatlon Oblast.  During
his visits to the provinces he was received by local government officials. 
The Representative also met with members of the opposition.

7.   The general policy of the Representative in carrying out his mandate is
based on the fundamental recognition that problems linked with internal
displacement primarily fall within the national sovereignty of the state
concerned.  At the same time, it has become recognized that sovereignty
carries with it responsibilities of protection and assistance from the state
towards its own nationals.  This combination of sovereignty and responsibility
provides the framework for a cooperative approach in which Governments are
expected to invite or at least accept international support if their own
capacity to provide protection and assistance is limited.  In this spirit, the
Representative seeks to understand the problems of internal displacement in
the country visited and make proposals for solutions.  As has been reflected
in his previous reports to the Commission on Human Rights and the General
Assembly, internal displacement often reflects a deeper crisis affecting the
larger society.  Thus, while it is important to address the problems faced by
internally displaced persons, the Representative sees that function as part of
a larger mandate to explore the root causes of the conflict in a dialogue with
the authorities and then seek durable solutions.  In addition, he considers it
important to explore ways in which the international community can best assist
the Government in the discharge of its responsibilities towards the internally

8.   Because current initiatives in Tajikistan emphasize a reintegration of
the displaced, the mission covered a broader range of parameters than has
normally been the case in missions relating to ongoing conflict situations. 
This report is therefore divided into five main parts.  Section II contains an
overview of the crisis which generated internal displacement in Tajikistan. 
Section III discusses patterns of displacement, return and the response of the
international community.  Section IV addresses the reintegration of returned
internally displaced persons and focuses on steps the international community
has taken to promote sustainable development and the protection of human
rights, in the light of ongoing needs.  Section V describes initiatives taken
by the international community to further the peace process through
peacekeeping, political negotiations and other reconciliatory activities. 
Finally, the report concludes with some observations and recommendations.


                    A.  Social and economic characteristics

9.   Tajikistan is located in Central Asia, bordering Afghanistan in the
south, China in the east, Kyrgyzstan in the north and Uzbekistan in the west.
Tajikistan has a large part of its 143,100 square kilometre territory covered
by high mountains, frequently creating problems of movement between different
parts of the country.  The lowlands and valleys are cultivated and, before the
war, 48 per cent of the population worked in the agricultural sector.  Of the
remaining part of the working population, 23 per cent worked in the service
sector, 16 per cent in construction, and 13 per cent in industry. 9/  Ever
since the Soviet period, Tajikistan has been exporting cotton and aluminum and
in return importing food.  Although there was also some cultivation of fruits
and raising of cattle and sheep, the lack of diversity in agriculture rendered
the country vulnerable.  Tajikistan was even before the civil war among the
poorest and least developed of the Commonwealth of Independent States
countries, and with the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
and the civil war, it has become increasingly difficult for Tajikistan to feed
its own population.

10.  Tajikistan is divided into four main administrative regions:  the
Leninabad Oblast in the north; the Khatlon Oblast, covering the Kurgan-Tyube
area in the south-west and the Kulyab area in the south-east, which was
recently merged from two oblasts into one; and the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous
Oblast in the east of the country.  In addition, the Republican Subordinated
Rayon, covering the central part of the country, comprises the Gissar and Garm
Oblasts.  According to a census conducted by the former Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics in 1989, the population, then totalling 5.1 million,
consisted of three major ethnic groups: 10/  61 per cent Tajik, 23.5 per cent
Uzbek and 7.6 per cent Russian. 11/  The term "Tajik" traditionally has been
used to designate Persian-speakers, as opposed to the Turkic-speaking
populations in other Central Asian nations.  The Tajik language is closely
related to Farsi and to the Dari spoken in Afghanistan.  Most Tajiks are Sunni
Muslims who were converted to Islam following the Arab invasion of Central
Asia in the seventh century. However, the Tajiks originating from
Gorno-Badakhshan, whose inhabitants are known as Pamiris after the mountain
range, are Ismaili Muslims.  The Pamiris consider themselves different from
the other Tajiks and speak different languages.

11.   The Tajiks formed a unique national group under the Samanid dynasty
(tenth century, 903-993 AD), which ruled a part of today's Tajikistan from
Bukhara in present-day Uzbekistan.  After Mongol invasions during the
thirteenth century the region was conquered by Tamerlane, and Turkic khans
subsequently ruled the Tajiks.  Later on, the Tajiks were ruled by the Emirate
of Bukhara; today's central and southern Tajikistan correspond to the eastern
portion of the Emirate.  With Russia's economic expansion and conquest of
Central Asia, Russians  started settling in the Ferghana Valley region, a part
of which now constitutes the northern part of Tajikistan. 12/

12.  In 1924, the Soviet Government established Tajikistan as an autonomous
republic within the Uzbekistan Soviet Socialist Republic.  The following year,
the Pamir mountain region on the Afghan-Chinese border was transferred to
Tajikistan under the name of Gorno-Badakhshan.  While Gorno-Badakhshan
represents some 45 per cent of the country's present territory, its
inhabitants account for only 6 per cent of the total population.  In 1929
Tajikistan was separated from Uzbekistan and made into a full Union Republic,
and a part of the Ferghana Valley region was transferred to Tajikistan's
territory.  The transfer of this part also increased the Russian and Uzbek
minorities in the country.  By drawing up new borders the cities of Bukhara
and Samarkand, which in the past had been important centres of Tajik culture,
were placed outside Tajik territory, thus weakening national cohesion and the
prospects for a common identity.

13.  The demographic composition in the south-western part of Tajikistan was
altered in the following years as a consequence of the Soviet Union's strategy
of developing the Republic's capacity to produce cotton.  To achieve this
there was a need for enhanced irrigation and a larger workforce.  Under Stalin
many persons from the mountainous areas of the Garm and Gorno-Badakhshan
regions were forcibly transferred to this part of the country and therefore
only integrated with the local population to a limited extent.  While the
Garmis and Pamiris integrated to some extent with the local populations and
some intermarriages took place, especially in urban areas, they usually lived
in separate villages and many retained their sense of ethnic separateness.

14.  Thus, it can be said that as a national entity, Tajikistan was
artificially created in the sense that an external power united regions that
had only had a limited extent of common identity.  The coexistence between
different ethnic groups was also further complicated by the creation of areas
with different populations which co-existed rather than integrated with each
other. Nevertheless, the Soviet legacy also left a uniting ideology of
collective identity that has  contributed to some sense, though
underdeveloped, of a Tajik national identity, and in spite of the civil war,
there are no overt moves today towards secession from the country.

                        B.  Independence and civil war

15.  With the economic decline during the last years of the Soviet Union's
existence, massive subsidies that had previously been allocated to Tajikistan
decreased sharply.  At the same time, along with Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of
glasnost, the situation in the Soviet Union allowed for increased autonomy for
its republics.  As elsewhere, the power vacuum which occurred in Tajikistan
led to simmering conflicts between Tajik regional groups, which competed for
influence and wealth.  Because the Tajik authorities had neither developed an
independent economy for the country nor provided the state with a secure
economic basis, the authorities were not able to adapt rapidly enough to new
developments, and the resulting financial crisis heightened insecurity and
dissatisfaction.  In a context of increased political liberty and economic
depression, various movements within Tajikistan began to look back to
traditional values, which had to various degrees been repressed in the past.

16.  The search for an identity led to claims for increased national
autonomy, sponsored to some extent by the Government 13/ but in particular by
some emerging political parties.  The combination of a deteriorating economy,
coupled with increasing voices for self-determination, initiated a trend of
emigration by minorities of Russian and European origin who felt increasingly
vulnerable and also saw better prospects for their future outside Tajikistan. 
Since these groups constituted the majority of skilled workers and
administrators in the country, their departure further contributed to the
general economic recession.

17.  There were, however, not only aspirations for national independence but
also for regional autonomy and a revival of religion.  These aspirations
triggered tensions within society, as they reflected a competition between
regions for access to increasingly scarce resources, and between proponents of
an Islamic society on one hand and those who upheld a secular State system.

18.  As these and other groups began to advocate change in their society,
political blocs started to take shape.  On the one hand, a diversity of
opposition parties called for political and economic reforms, for pluralism
and democracy, 14/ increased regional autonomy, 15/ or an Islamic State. 16/ 
On the other hand, some groups sought to preserve the dominant political power
they had gained under the Soviet regime.  To a large degree, political
aspirations coincided with regional origins.  Those who contested the
political establishment were supported mainly by the eastern regions of the
Garm valley and the Pamir mountains, as well as by persons who originated from
these regions, now living in the south-western Kurgan-Tyube area and the
capital.  The Government, for its part, drew a majority of its supporters from
the Leninabad region in the north, which had always held political power in
the country, and the Kulyab area in the south-east, its traditional partner.

19.  In February 1990 large demonstrations in Dushanbe led to 21 deaths. 17/ 
The Government used these events as a pretext to ban opposition candidates
from taking part in the Tajik Supreme Soviet, or Parliamentary, elections.  In
August 1991, Tajikistan's president, Kakhar Makhmanov, openly expressed his
support for the coup d'e'tat attempt against Gorbachev.  After the failure of
the coup d'e'tat, demonstrations took place to demand his resignation.  The
following month Tajikistan declared its independence, 18/ and the Communist
Party-based Government was forced to resign.  After Kadreddin Aslonov had been
named acting President, 19/ he suspended Communist Party activity.  The
Parliament, however, was still dominated by former Communist Party members who
countered the reforms. They declared a state of emergency 20/ to stop
demonstrations in support of Aslonov and forced his resignation.  Former First
Party Secretary Rakhmon Nabiyev was elected the new President, and he soon
lifted the ban on the Communist Party.

20.  This triggered more than one week of mass demonstrations, and Nabiyev
had to resign in October 1991.  However, he was reinstated after presidential
elections were held the following month, which he won over a former reformist
deputy. 21/  Despite opposition protests, the Kulyab and Khodjent allies,
forming 60 per cent of the nation's population, were easily able to keep a
Khodjenti communist in power. 22/  Together with the parliament Nabiyev now
restored censorship and introduced amendments to the criminal code directed at
any opposition to the Government.  Tensions between those in favour of keeping
or reforming the system nevertheless continued, manifested through continued
demonstrations.  In March 1992 a demonstration took place to demand the
resignation of the speaker 23/ of the Supreme Soviet.  This demonstration was
rapidly joined by other opposition parties, 24/ who soon amplified their
demands by advocating a constitutional referendum, parliamentary elections,
and finally the resignation of President Nabiyev and the establishment of a
coalition Government.

21.  However, the Parliament refused to make any concessions to the
opposition, and during the spring of 1992 demonstrations for and against the
Government continued and increased in intensity.  On 26 April, as a large
demonstration against the Government was being held, a mass demonstration in
support of the Government and President Nabiyev was also organized, for which
many demonstrators had been driven from Kulyab into Dushanbe.  With two large
demonstrations taking place less than one mile from each other, the capital
was paralysed; violence erupted between paramilitary groups supporting each of
the sides, which included hostage-taking, beatings and killings.

22.  On 1 May 1992, the violence increased after the President had issued a
decree authorizing 1,800 automatic weapons to be distributed among his
supporters to create an extraordinary battalion of the "National Guard". 
During the following days armed clashes took place within the capital to gain
control over key government buildings. 25/  On 7 May, in the face of these
serious disturbances, the President signed a decree for the establishment of a
coalition Government with eight ministerial posts allocated to the opposition,
including the Ministries of Interior, Security, Defence and Foreign Affairs. 
He also reduced considerably his own power and ordered the disbanding of the
"National Guard". 26/

23.  The establishment of a coalition Government ended the two parallel
demonstrations in the capital.  However, the Oblasts of Leninabad and Kulyab
refused to recognize the new Government, so the violence continued, spreading
from the capital to the countryside.  On 10 May, 14 persons were killed and
dozens wounded when security troops fired on demonstrators who had come to
hear the President speak and had started to attack barricades that had been
set up in front of the building where they thought he would be.  Supporters of
the regime were in turn victims of violence from opposition groups.  In one
such episode a column of buses driving to Dushanbe to bring pro-government
supporters back to Kulyab was forced to stop.  The guards of the column were
killed and the chauffeurs taken as hostages, beaten and then released.  In
addition, there were reportedly robberies of Kulyabis in Dushanbe.  Similarly,
in early June 1992, defeated supporters of the opposition living in Kulyab
were forced to flee to Dushanbe, and the remaining ones suffered continued
attacks.  As the situation further polarized, the first movements of
internally displaced persons started.

24.  During the summer, as the armed antagonists received increased material
support, the fighting escalated into civil war with particular intensity in
the southern part of the country.  It has been alleged that Government forces
received support from the Russian Federation and Uzbekistan, while the
opposition received support from Afghanistan. 27/  The opposition forces
carried the initiative in the early phases of the war.  The town of Kulyab was
apparently subjected to a blockade by the opposition forces, which resulted in
famine. 28/  Pro-government forces, including members of the previous National
Guard, which had changed its name to the National/Popular Front, then launched
a counter-offensive.  The most serious fighting took place in the Kurgan-Tyube
area, with reports of atrocities, including summary executions, torture and
massacres of civilians, committed by both parties to the conflict.

25.  As the pro-government forces started gaining ground, a predominant
feature was that houses and sometimes entire villages belonging to displaced
civilians were systematically 29/ looted, with roofing material, windows and
doors removed, or simply destroyed by being set on fire.  In the areas visited
by the Representative there was a striking contrast between villages or
neighbourhoods which appeared either totally destroyed or completely unharmed,
in accordance with the ethnic origin of their inhabitants.  The pattern of
destruction reflected the extent to which ethnic identity had become an
important factor in the conflict, since only houses belonging to the defeated
Garmi and Pamiri communities were destroyed.  While the motive for this
massive destruction might have been to prevent the return of the displaced, a
contributing element to the looting was probably also the opportunity for
neighbouring communities to acquire unprotected goods.

26.  The coalition Government gradually proved unable to rule.  On
7 September 1992, the opposition forced elected President Nabiyev to sign a
letter of resignation, and Akbarshah Iskandarov, the Chairman of the Supreme
Soviet and a member of the opposition, became acting President.  The
resignation of President Nabiyev was not accepted by the Parliament, which, in
a special session held in Khodjent 30/ on 16 November 1992, abolished the
institution of the President and instead elected Imomali Rakhmonov as the new
Chairman of the Supreme Soviet.

27.  The opposition reacted to this by refusing to let the new Government
return to Dushanbe.  This led to a week of severe fighting in the capital,
where the pro-Government forces were assisted by Uzbek paramilitary forces
from the Gissar region west of the capital, before the new Government could
enter in mid-December 1992.  As the opposition had now been defeated in the
Kurgan-Tyube area of the south-west and in Dushanbe, the offensive moved in
the period of January-March 1993 towards the last strongholds of the
opposition, east of the capital towards the Garm valley.

28.  In addition to the serious violations of humanitarian law committed by
both sides during the civil war, there were also serious human rights
violations and abuses in the aftermath of the conflict.  In the capital armed
gangs committed killings of perceived opponents.  It has been reported that in
December 1992 buses were routinely searched, and persons with identity cards
revealing they were of Pamiri or Garmi origin were forced out and either
killed on the spot or taken away and later found dead or never heard from
again. 31/


                         A.  Patterns of displacement

29.  The patterns of displacement were intimately linked to the nature and
development of the conflict.  In this regard, the term "regionalism" 32/ and
the related "two homes" concept are key to understanding the lines along which
the conflict developed and the routes fleeing civilians decided to take.  With
the gradual polarization of society, the issue of ethnicity became
predominant, and persons who found themselves in a minority position in their
areas of residence sought refuge in their regions of origin.  As the conflict
escalated into civil war this pattern intensified, only influenced insofar as
the presence of the armed forces prevented such a movement.  Thus, the sudden
advance of the pro-government forces in the south-west divided the region in
such a way that targeted civilians were forced to flee either southwards,
towards Afghanistan, or northwards, towards the capital and the eastern parts
of the country.  Thus, the cause for the flight of those who left the country
and those who became internally displaced was the same.  These two groups also
faced similar problems upon return, in terms of needs for material support and

                  B.  Assistance provided during displacement

30.  Many of the internally displaced did not receive international
assistance before they returned to their homes.  For most internally displaced
persons, however, the consequences of flight were mitigated by extended
kinship relations.  As a result of the previous population transfers five
decades earlier, followed by economic migration, many of the displaced had
historical links with their ancestral homelands.  Since the war was not fought
simultaneously in the whole country, and hostilities in fact never took place
in the northern and eastern parts during the 1992-1993 conflict, it often was
possible for the internally displaced to receive shelter, food and physical
security from extended family members.  The internally displaced persons
therefore can be said to have two homes:  the one being the region where they
have ties through their origins but where possibilities for sustaining
themselves are limited, the Gorno-Badakhshan or Garm region, and the other
being where they have their houses and lands but where they have integrated
only to a limited extent, the Kurgan-Tyube region.  In contrast, those who
fled towards the Afghan border were largely deprived of such family support
and were therefore in desperate need of external assistance.  During 1992 they
were assisted mainly by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

31.  The Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast, which had less than 200,000
inhabitants, received an influx of at least 100,000 internally displaced
persons.  Because of its natural environment characterized by a mountainous
landscape, a hard climate and poor soil, it was already difficult for the
local population to sustain itself, particularly after the collapse of the
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the loss of subsidies from the
Government after the civil war.  The large number of internally displaced
persons thus represented a significant additional burden to the local
population.  ICRC, in cooperation with the Aga Khan Foundation, therefore
chose to assist the entire population, without distinguishing between the
internally displaced and the local population, primarily with food and
medicines.  To the extent available, the Government provided shelter in public

                          C.  Return of the displaced

32.  Most of the internally displaced returned on their own initiative, and
without receiving assistance, in the first few months after the conflict had
ceased.  ICRC assumed responsibility for assisting the internally displaced
persons in the areas to which they had fled, while UNHCR provided assistance
in the main area of return.

33.  In March 1993, the Government decided to forcibly return some 500
internally displaced persons from Dushanbe to the Kurgan-Tyube region.  The
returnees had been provided with neither food nor water for the transport, and
no preparations had been made at the places of destination for their
reception.  The local communities, hostile to the returnees, blocked the rails
shortly before arrival and refused to let the passengers off the train.  They
were later placed in a transit camp where they received, according to a member
of this group who spoke with the Representative about his experience, poisoned
water. When after 16 days they were authorized to return to their homes,
protected by local police, they found that their villages had in the meantime
been looted.  Sixteen persons died during this episode, which generated
international attention in the press.  The authorities agreed after this that
return transports had to be adequately prepared and accepted the participation
of international agencies in carrying them out.

34.  Although most internally displaced persons returned spontaneously, the
International Organization for Migration (IOM), ICRC and UNHCR assisted with
some return convoys.  Public transportation for returning internally displaced
persons also was provided by the Government when available.  In 1994 plans to
organize transport by road from Gorno-Badakhshan had to be cancelled because
hostilities intensified along the only inland return route.  In 1995, an
agreement for safe passage was reached between the parties, which allowed
1,700 of the internally displaced to return, but a combination of new
insecurity, bad weather and roads precluded completion of the planned convoys.

There are currently plans to transport those who opt for return out of the
region by plane, as mountain passes are blocked during the winter and the
security situation prevents safe road transport.

                 D.  Measures taken to facilitate resettlement

35.  The displaced who had previously lived in the Kurgan-Tyube region, which
had been most affected by the conflict and from which most had fled, faced
multiple obstacles upon return.  Many thousands of homes had been destroyed
during or after the conflict or looted by neighbouring communities.  In
addition, houses and land had been occupied, often by those who had fought on
the winning side and who considered their new acquisitions to be rewards for
their victory.  Seeds for planting had been consumed, so there was little
possibility of cultivating food.  The health care system was in a state of
collapse as a result of destroyed health centres and insufficient numbers of
qualified staff, many of whom, like other skilled workers throughout the
country, had emigrated before and during the civil war.  Medical drugs and
equipment were also lacking.  Furthermore, as water pumps often had been
damaged or stolen, there was an urgent need to repair or replace them in order
to avoid contamination and epidemics.

36.  With regard to security, the displaced population, as mentioned above,
had been identified with the enemy as the conflict developed and was perceived
as responsible for having triggered the civil war.  There was therefore
considerable hostility among the local population towards the return of the
displaced.  The problem of insecurity was particularly difficult during the
early post-war period, when the lack of law and order allowed uncontrolled
armed bands to take justice into their own hands.  This period was
characterized by numerous disappearances, killings, beatings and other forms
of harassment of the returnees, particularly in the capital and in the
Kurgan-Tyube region.  This insecure situation was threatening to further
deteriorate, not only preventing a return of the displaced but also forcing
them into exile, with the potential for destabilizing the whole region.

37.   In this context, only a comprehensive approach could stabilize the
situation, provide the necessary confidence among the displaced to promote
their return and prevent new outflows of refugees.  Because of the massive
destruction, humanitarian assistance had to focus on basic needs for food,
shelter and health.  Improved security to restore the confidence of the
displaced population was equally important.  The lead United Nations agency to
promote return, UNHCR, accordingly designed and implemented a programme of
return and reintegration that linked assistance with protection.  Although the
returning refugees and internally displaced persons were particularly exposed
to the above-mentioned problems, some of the difficulties were also affecting
the society at large.  It was therefore considered important not only to
provide assistance to returning refugees and internally displaced persons in
an equal manner, but also to cover some of the needs faced by the whole
population, in order to avoid jealousy and resentment and to dissipate the
significant ethnic tensions between the local communities.

                  1.  Physical security and legal protection

38.  During the civil war pro-government forces pursued a strategy of
"cleansing" the conflict areas of the opposition and of their perceived or
potential supporters, 33/ namely the Garmi and Pamiri population.  As a
result, many thousands of internally displaced persons who had massed along
the Afghan border were forced to flee from the Kurgan-Tyube region into
Afghanistan during December 1992 and January 1993.  However, the Government
soon realized that there was a need to reverse this policy, and the return of
the displaced was declared a national priority.

39.  Several factors account for this change.  In addition to the
Government's concerns for the displaced civilians was the need for
international legitimacy.   To obtain this it would have to demonstrate a
sense of responsibility for the entire population.  Influence and pressure
were exercised by the Russian Federation, Uzbekistan and the United Nations. 
Other reasons were the need to stabilize the situation in the country and to
weaken the opposition by removing a possible source of recruitment.  Still
another reason stemmed from the economic crisis and the Government's need for
workers to return to the cotton farms.  Since the recent break-up of the
Soviet Union and the reduction in the Government's capacity as a result of the
civil war, there was a commensurate need for international assistance to
achieve the goal of return.  The new policy therefore led to close cooperation
between the Government and the international community, rendering an effective
international response possible.

40.  Through public statements 34/ by the President and the Minister of
Interior displaced persons were encouraged to return to their home areas. 
Moreover, local officials were informed that return and reintegration were
national priorities.  These statements were important in that they contributed
to the restoration of public confidence and could be referred to during
discussions with local authorities to remind them of their protection duties
towards the returnees.

41.  The capacity of the Government to provide security was initially
limited.  Its entry into power did not reflect a unified coalition.  Rather,
it had been brought to power by irregular forces which were to some extent
operating outside its control.  In spite of a commitment by the Government to
facilitate the return of the displaced, their integration was difficult
because of the resentment felt by the "winners" towards the returnees.  In
order to strengthen law and order the Government made efforts to gradually
increase its command over these paramilitary groups.  A first step in this
direction was to integrate former members of paramilitary groups into the
regular security forces and civil administration.  Although this contributed
to an improvement of the situation, it proved to be insufficient, because the
former fighters, who sometimes had lost their relatives in the war and had
little compassion for the returnees, could now abuse state authority by
ignoring complaints or violating other human rights.  As a consequence, a
second initiative was taken to ensure that those who occupied posts in the
relevant public services had the necessary qualifications.  These first steps
were important contributions to improving the security situation, and since
then the worst abuses have markedly decreased.

42.  The Government also adopted a law "on forced migrants", which was
enacted in mid-1994.  This law regulates registration procedures and provides
for assistance to and protection for the internally displaced.  During the
displacement phase, the law grants internally displaced persons the right to
rent-free accommodation, assistance to find work or alternatively to be
granted unemployment allowances, and free food assistance in their place of
temporary residence.  The law further provides for the return of their
property or for compensation and protection against forcible return.  When
resettling, internally displaced persons are entitled to free return
transport, the right to repossess their property, a lump sum allowance,
temporary shelter free of charge, free meals and foodstuffs, medical services,
and work equivalent to their previous experience or training courses where
required.  They are further entitled to assistance with placing their children
in schools and to a pension or limited salary according to their period of

43.  According to the law the status of "forced migrant" is granted for a
period of three years.  However, a presidential decree has since removed this
time-limit.  Although the law has been important in providing accommodation in
public buildings for those who could not be helped by extended family members,
the practical bearing of most of its provisions has been severely limited by
the lack of necessary funds.  A presidential decree also has made available
government loans on generous terms for returnees wishing to rebuild their
houses. 35/  However, the formerly displaced explained to the Representative
that in practice the credits are difficult to obtain, and the amounts too

44.  With regard to the protection of legal rights of the returnees, the
fundamental premise of UNHCR was that the State should assume its
responsibilities towards all its nationals.  Because of the ethnic antagonism
among the local communities, it was important that cases were solved as soon
as possible to avoid outbursts of ethnic tensions which would have jeopardized
reconciliation, threatened the return movement or led to further displacement.
The strategy pursued was therefore primarily to ensure that the law was being
applied in a coherent and non-discriminatory manner by the relevant
authorities, so that they would not be perceived as ethnically biased.  UNHCR
approached the problem by deploying field officers in the return areas who
actively monitored human rights conditions, registered complaints of the
returnees with the relevant government authorities, and followed up the cases
to ensure that appropriate action was taken.  In cases of alleged crimes, this
meant the carrying out of investigations, and where necessary, these would be
followed by prosecution and trial.  Similarly, in cases of alleged illegal
house occupations, the field officer would transmit the information to the
local prosecutor through a letter, referring to the commitment of the
Government to the return and reintegration of the returnees and requesting
that an investigation be carried out followed by an eviction where this was
found to be justified.  A copy of such correspondence would also be sent to
the central authorities.

45.  While UNHCR was actively involved in following up on individual cases
brought to its attention, it did not take a stand with regard to the merits of
individual cases.  Its intercessions with local authorities were based on
respect for their competence in accordance with Tajik laws, including penal
law, civil and criminal procedures, as well as more specific legislation, such
as the law on "forced migrants" and on house occupation.  The cases were often
solved in an informal manner between the occupant, the alleged victim, the
field officer, and the local official.  Other cases had to be referred to the
courts.  Only for the most serious cases of non-compliance by local officials
would the matter be raised with central government authorities.

46.  As a major international organization, UNHCR enjoyed the necessary
respect to assume an important role in protection by following up cases
brought to its attention.  For law enforcement officials, a request from UNHCR
also served as a useful "excuse" to take action in cases where the alleged
offender would otherwise have been in a position to be threatening or was a
relative of the official.  Bringing the victims into contact with the
authorities, so that complaints were acted upon, helped to reduce the lack of
trust towards the authorities.  By mediating between hostile communities the
field officers also made a significant contribution to restoring confidence.

47.  With the phasing down of its activities in Tajikistan, UNHCR handed over
its protection activities to OSCE.  Since this organization has a broader
mandate than UNHCR, it aims to strengthen the legal protection of other
segments of the population as well as returnees, both in areas of return and
elsewhere. OSCE has taken over three of the UNHCR field offices and plans to
expand its field presence to other areas of Tajikistan and engage in
capacity-building activities on a broader range.  Like UNHCR, OSCE sees a
direct link between protection and reintegration, between urging local
authorities to investigate returnee complaints fairly and averting outbreaks
of ethnic hostility.  Accordingly, the OSCE field officers consider individual
cases of illegal house occupation, often issuing statements for court cases;
bring cases of mistreatment in prisons and police harassment to the attention
of local and national authorities; and provide a communications link by radio
and letter between Tajik refugees in Afghanistan and their family members in
Tajikistan.  While internally displaced persons and refugee returnees have
been the main focus of its efforts, OSCE addresses human rights issues for the
general population, including ethnic Uzbeks and Russians.  As a regional
political organization of which Tajikistan is a member and which had
established a rapport with the Government before becoming involved with
humanitarian work, OSCE is in a position not only to monitor human rights but
to support the development of the entire democratic process, combining an
active field presence with political influence.

                             2.  Relief assistance


48.  In the initial phases of the emergency UNHCR distributed temporary
shelter materials, clothing and food.  The major part of UNHCR assistance,
however, was geared towards the reconstruction of 18,500 houses in 170
villages, mostly in the Kurgan-Tyube region.  The returnees were provided with
kits, each of which consisted of roofing elements, nails and asbestos sheets. 
For reasons of equity the kits were standardized so as to avoid problems of
evaluation of individual requirements and potential jealousies.  UNHCR first
checked lists made by the local authorities to ensure that the recipients were
indeed the intended beneficiaries, that is, that the house occupants were the
legitimate owners, 36/ and that neither family, friendship ties nor fear had
entered into consideration by the official who had been charged with preparing
the lists.  UNHCR would then require that the beneficiaries set up the walls
of the house by themselves before delivering the materials.  To help families
who did not have the capacity to reconstruct their own homes, because the
husband had been killed or because help from the local community was not
available, UNHCR also initiated a "food for work" programme whereby teams of
construction workers would rebuild the houses.

49.  The roofing material had to be imported, and because of delays in
delivery 37/ or funding, the implementation of the housing programme was
slower than initially expected.  The deliveries allowed for the reconstruction
of 7,000 homes by September 1994, a further 7,000 by April 1995 and 4,800
houses between June 1995 and April 1996 38/.  In addition, the Government
agreed to deliver shelter material for 1,000 houses with UNHCR funding. 39/ 
One positive side effect of the delays was that extra time was allowed for
improvement in the planning and implementation of the projects.  The ongoing
delivery of assistance also generated goodwill on the part of the authorities,
which was an important asset for the organization in carrying out protection
activities on behalf of the returning internally displaced persons.

50.  Non-governmental organizations assisted in the reconstruction as well. 
Save the Children (United States) cooperated with UNHCR and the World Food
Programme (WFP) in carrying out a food for work project, while Shelter Now
International and Caritas initiated the production of local tiles in the Garm
and the Kurgan-Tyube regions respectively. 40/  In view of recurring
hostilities that have taken place between opposition and government forces in
the area of Tavildara, UNHCR decided not to provide assistance for
reconstruction there, as this could have induced the displaced to return to an
area in which it was considered too dangerous to resettle.

51.  In addition to the problem of illegal house occupations, a related issue
has been how to address the question of restitution of property in cases where
the displaced sold their houses before departing, under duress, and where the
new owners sometimes made later investments.  Unlike many other situations of
internal displacement, some persons managed to sell their property before
fleeing.  The conditions under which the sales were concluded - in haste, out
of fear of destruction of the property, and with little prospect of return -
often led to a very low price level.  With the return of the displaced,
conflicting interests arose with regard to the possibility of the former owner
rebuying his house, as well as the price he would have to pay.  In his meeting
with the Representative, the Prosecutor-General presented the dilemma he faced
in addressing these issues.  On the one hand, he considered that such disputes
should be dealt with in accordance with the law, according to which these
contracts are valid and restitution is precluded if no pressure has been
exercised by the buyer.  On the other hand, he recognized the fundamental
importance of achieving reconciliation.  He was of the opinion that given the
extraordinary circumstances created by the civil war, a new law might be
enacted to solve the problem.  With regard to the evaluation of property, a
judge in Khatlon proposed that the former owner be allowed to rebuy his house
and tie the original price to a stable foreign currency, converting the
equivalent into current Tajik roubles, in order to make up for any
depreciation of the local currency and for investments made in the interim


52.  Tajikistan's food production covers less than one third of domestic
needs, 41/ and with the decline in national revenues the population has become
heavily dependent on food aid by the international community.  It has been
necessary to continue food deliveries in both the countryside and the cities
since many persons have not been able to earn a sufficient income since the
war. The Representative noted during his visit to two returnee communities in
the outskirts of Dushanbe that many households were cultivating vegetables in
their kitchen gardens.  However, most of these plots of land are of
insufficient size to satisfy the nutritional requirements of families.

53.  Food assistance was initially distributed by UNHCR on behalf of WFP. 
UNHCR also gave a one-time distribution to recent returnees and funded Save
the Children Fund (United States) to distribute some seeds among the different
ethnic groups.  WFP and other implementing partners put a strong emphasis on
reaching vulnerable groups.  Non-governmental organizations, such as Care
International, German Agro-Action, ICRC, and Save the Children (United
Kingdom), for example, thus do not classify returning internally displaced
persons and refugees in a category by themselves, but include them among the
beneficiaries when they fall within other criteria, such as the elderly poor,
widows, sick and handicapped persons, families with more than five children,
women-headed households, young mothers, pregnant women and girl children.

54.  When the Representative visited the Kurgan-Tyube area he met with some
persons who had been living in a mosque since their return to their home area
two months earlier.  The returnees complained about insufficient food,
although WFP had distributed rations there earlier.  When the Representative
learned that they had not started to cultivate their lands since returning he
asked how long they were expecting to continue to live on wheat flour
distributions.  Both the returnees, and later local government representatives
responding to a similar question, answered that this was "as long as you [the
international community] are willing to feed us".  When WFP staff carried out
a new distribution a few days later, they noted that the food delivery had
also attracted other people to the mosque from the surrounding area.  The
mosque had two large rooms which were used to lodge about 150 persons.  Such
conditions of overcrowding entail the serious risk of spreading disease.

55.  Several factors can account for this apparent attitude of passivity and
the risk of dependency on the international community.  Some beneficiaries may
have received food assistance for such a long period that the incentive for
growing their own food might have diminished.  The Soviet legacy may also be a
contributing factor, as the welfare State during the Soviet era would provide
for the needs of everyone without any particular initiative being necessary.
This role has been taken over in part by the international community, given
the expectations of the beneficiaries as well as of local government


56.  The health care system in the past was well developed.  Medical care was
free of charge, with a health care unit in most villages and hospitals in both
urban and rural areas.  Because the system was based on curative rather that
preventive health care it required considerable human and financial resources.
After the civil war there were insufficient funds to maintain medical
equipment and pay for medicines and salaries to medical personnel.  The
international community is providing medicines to health care units and in
some areas encouraging qualified personnel not to leave their posts by
providing food for work as a substitute for salaries.  Furthermore, efforts
are being made to emphasize the prevention of disease and make the health care
system more effective and adapted to current economic realities.

57.  In order to prevent or contain water-borne diseases UNHCR funded a
rehabilitation programme under the water and sanitation sector, using
Me'decins sans frontie`res (Belgium) and the International Rescue Committee as
implementing partners. 42/  The programme aimed to manufacture, install and
repair water hand pumps, submersible and other water systems, and provide some
technical training of local officials.  The projects were later handed over to
UNICEF, the lead agency in this sector.

58.  To ensure access to safe drinking water in the future, it is necessary
to supplement the initial rehabilitation of the water system by training and
paying technicians and by securing the provision of spare parts.  For this
purpose, it has been suggested that an appropriate tariff be introduced for
the provision of water.  It has been reported that the population in the
Kurgan-Tyube area prefers open canal water and that well water is used
primarily in the wintertime, when there is insufficient water in the canals. 
An appropriate use of drinking water would drastically reduce water-borne
diseases.  It is important that awareness is raised on this issue.

                    3.  Steps taken by the local population

59.  Because of initial resentment towards the displaced, local communities
did not assist in their return.  However, as conditions improved and the
reconciliation process progressed, this situation gradually changed.  In a
village visited by the Representative, the neighbouring community had
gradually returned the machines used for cultivation, although the formerly
displaced claimed that only half of the land they had cultivated in the past
had been given back, and that they could commonly find their household assets
in their neighbour's houses.  Nevertheless, communities had now resumed the
tradition of paying each other visits during celebrations.  The Representative
was told that neighbours commonly expressed regret for what had happened
during the war and over the fact that stronger ties had not been established
between the communities, such as through intermarriage.


60.  Generally, a distinction can be made with regard to the kind of
assistance that should be provided to the displaced, depending on the phase of
displacement.  During displacement, as well as in the first period of return,
relief assistance is required.  Once return has been accomplished, however,
the emergency response ceases to be justified.  It then becomes time to focus
on development assistance with a view to helping the country and its
inhabitants achieve a self-sustainable development.  The timing of this shift
of emphasis on the respective forms of assistance, as well as the type and
quality of development activities, are important factors for how soon the
returning population can be reintegrated.  Delays and inappropriate activities
render self-reliance more expensive and more difficult to realize and risk
generating passivity on the part of the beneficiaries.

61.  Just as the emergency needs in Tajikistan had to be addressed in a
comprehensive manner, development assistance also has to be multi-sectoral,
addressing inter alia the needs for food, health and security.  Improvements
within these fields, through the delivery of technical, financial and material
assistance, can promote reconciliation and strengthen the rule of law and
therefore also should be seen as preventive activity to avoid the crisis from
escalating again.

                          A.  Achieving self-reliance

62.  The general living conditions of the population have implications for
the ease with which reintegration is achieved.  In this context, it must be
recalled that Tajikistan's economy had been drastically weakened.  A lack of
foreign currency 43/ undermined the country's ability to import needed goods. 
Because of the loss of skilled workers and the lack of spare parts and
production orders, many factories were idle.  Agriculture was also seriously
affected.  The result has been a very high unemployment rate. 44/  Among those
who are employed, many receive only irregular salaries, sometimes by in-kind
payment instead of wages, and for those who are paid, the value of their
salary 45/ is insufficient to cover food expenses for their family.  With the
depletion of the economy, welfare assistance and pensions have been severely

63.  Because of the economic crisis many Tajiks have been forced to earn
their living through other means. 46/  Those who can, sell household assets or
imported goods, produce wheat, fruits, vegetables, or livestock for their own
consumption or trade, or rely on extended families.  Some humanitarian
assistance also allegedly is diverted from beneficiary groups and sold on the
market. 47/  Establishing small enterprises is difficult, partly owing to a
lack of credit opportunities, expensive or irregularly available raw materials
and other input products including electricity, and the small purchasing power
of society.  Furthermore, the legal system does not take sufficiently into
account the need for a stable and reliable framework as a basis for long-term
investments.  Contract law is insufficiently developed, and the court system
is ineffective. 

64.  Returning internally displaced persons face additional problems.  In
spite of government commitments and legislation to ensure that returnees
regain their previous employment, persons of Garmi or Pamiri origin often lose
their posts to persons on the winning side in the conflict.  Women, who often
have become responsible for supporting their households because their men have
been killed, have joined the armed opposition, live in exile, or are hiding to
avoid conscription, find it even more difficult to find or keep employment. 
One effect is that children have had to contribute to the family income, which
in turn has reduced school attendance.  Because of the unstable security
situation many road-blocks have been set up, and since internally displaced
persons belong to the ethnic minorities identified with the enemy, they are
more exposed to harassment and confiscation at these checkpoints.  Trade is
therefore particularly difficult for them.

65.  Although the amount of delivered food has been massive, the larger
challenge is to promote food security, since international efforts can only be
supplementary to national production.  Steps taken to increase private
production have been hampered by insufficient privatization and distribution
of public land to cultivate wheat.  In rural areas the distribution of seeds
has increased food production to some extent, but a lack of sufficient land,
fertilizers, machinery, and quality seeds 48/ has limited the potential.  Some
analysts maintained in their discussions with the Representative that
Tajikistan might opt instead for developing other sectors where it can be
comparatively more competitive and import food with the income earned.  In
order to increase the availability of food among the population, international
organizations have taken steps to strengthen local production by supporting
the establishment of small bakeries and mills.  There are also suggestions for
the elaboration of a strategy to develop a distribution system, through
voluntary associations of farmers and the training of traders, so as to
facilitate the purchase of necessary input goods and the sale of the
agricultural products.  

66.  In the autumn of 1994 UNHCR initiated a programme of income-generating
activities in the Kurgan-Tyube region working with two non-governmental
organizations, Relief International and the International Rescue Committee, as
implementing partners.  The aims of these so-called quick impact projects were
to offer the returnees a source of livelihood, provide the communities with
necessary commodities, strengthen the economy, and facilitate integration
through the creation of small-scale production of a variety of household
goods. With the assistance of Relief International some 1,185 49/ direct
participants, almost exclusively women of different ethnic backgrounds,
produced coats, socks, shirts and shoes, mattresses and carpets, or engaged in
oil pressing and rabbit raising.

67.  As the name of the projects indicates, the emphasis was to achieve rapid
results, and they were carried out on a short-term basis.  The objectives set
were reached successfully insofar as the aims were to provide income and
goods, since the products were paid for and distributed or consumed by the
households.  However, it was estimated 50/ that the objective of strengthening
the economy was only partially achieved.  Since the managers procured the
input material and priced and marketed the product, the projects did not
provide the women with new technical skills and knowledge on how to manage
business.  Integration was promoted by letting various ethnic groups benefit
from the projects, but could probably have been enhanced through the increased
interaction with suppliers and customers, had these activities been carried
out by the participants themselves.  The International Rescue Committee
established soap production sites, shoe manufacturing facilities and restarted
poultry farms which had ceased production.  Because of the short time-frame
and the higher level of technical skill required, prior experience was found
to be necessary, and a total of 62 men of different ethnic backgrounds were
employed.  As for the projects involving women, it was found that the
Committee's quick impact projects would last only as long as an international
organization could support them.

68.  In order to address the longer-term economic and technical problems
faced by the initial projects, the income-generating activities were
redirected into small enterprise development projects in an effort to make
them self-sustainable.  With a longer time-frame, it became possible to train,
advise and support the participants on a broader basis so that they would be
able to manage the activities as private enterprises. 51/  The International
Rescue Committee provided training on the production sites already
established, while Relief International offered a five-day-long training
programme on how to start up a business for women who had previously
participated in the quick impact project programme.  Once the projects, as
defined by the participants, had been approved, the women also were provided
with up to US $200 in start-up capital in the form of wool, wheat, pregnant
goats, or sheep.  Because of the high number of persons to train, however,
there was no capacity for this organization to provide management training,
practical advice or other forms of support for activities once they had been

69.  The transition from quick impact project to small enterprise development
proved to be difficult in practice.  Because of the urgency in establishing
the initial projects, some issues of importance for their viability had not
been sufficiently considered prior to the start-up.  This weakness manifested
itself during the transition period when management of the projects was handed
over from UNHCR to UNDP by the end of 1995.  UNDP discontinued some of the
activities, judging that they could not become economically viable.  An
evaluation 52/ of the small enterprise development projects noted that the
transfer to UNDP would have been easier if the projects had been conceived as
long-term development programmes from the outset, as this would have allowed
UNDP to provide complementary support.  In the context of Tajikistan, however,
this was rendered difficult because of UNDP's late establishment of
operational capacity in the country. 

70.  In addition to income-generating activities, several economic surveys
were carried out. 53/  These assessments were made in order to facilitate
planning of future projects, by identifying obstacles and advantages in the
current situation.  In terms of capacity-building, Save the Children (United
States) and Counterpart Consortium are training nationals in order that they
will be able to assume the current tasks of training and advice once the
international organizations depart.  The non-governmental organizations are
planning to establish a capacity-building resource centre. 

71.  A serious obstacle to the establishment of private enterprise is the
lack of credit opportunities, which affects women in particular.  Improved
access to credit would enable the Tajiks themselves to define more easily the
areas in which their business has the best possibility to succeed, taking into
account their own perceptions of market opportunities and their own skills. 
The nature of the quick impact project and small enterprise development
projects were designed and directed by UNHCR and its implementing partners
without extensive consultation with the participants themselves.  Save the
Children (United States) has provided credit to small groups of women on the
basis of group responsibility for the loans.  This project has been
successful, and almost all credit agreements thus far have been honoured. 

72.  The Representative was informed that the unstable provision of input
products constitutes another major constraint.  One way of addressing this
problem has been to locate the production sites of the small enterprise
development projects together so that products of one activity feed the other.

This is a sound strategy but also increases the vulnerability of the overall
activity when the input product is not available.  For example, it was thought
that oil-pressing, based on cotton seeds, could provide the soap production
sites with necessary input material.  When the Government decided that the
sale of cotton seed would no longer be authorized, however, both activities
were threatened.

73.  It is important to establish an environment in which private business is
possible.  This entails clear legislation as a stable framework for
longer-term investments and an efficient legal and administrative system to
decide upon conflicting claims, enforce decisions, and register ownership and
transactions.  As a preparation for the takeover of enterprises by the
participants, UNHCR and UNDP agreed to establish a mechanism for enterprise
protection, to prevent the new owners from being subjected to abuses such as
confiscation and overtaxation.  The Government has taken a number of steps to
support the development of private enterprises and is planning to privatize
most of the smaller state enterprises.  The Representative met with
representatives of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
who provided information on how the Government has succeeded in bringing under
control the rampant inflation which made it difficult to plan and make
long-term investments.  They reported that cooperation between the Government
and international financial institutions has been strong.

                 B.  Promotion and protection of human rights

74.  A genuinely stable society is based on equity rather than on a
repressive system.  In this regard, the achievement of all human rights, for
all inhabitants, is one of the best means for conflict prevention.  The human
rights record in a country is an important tool to assess overall stability in
a society.  International legitimacy depends to a large extent on the
humanitarian and human rights record achieved, and often has an impact on the
willingness of the donor community to support the national authorities.  This
section provides an overview of the current human rights situation, together
with some recommendations.

75.  Tajikistan has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Rights of
the Child, the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967
Protocol, as well as several ILO Conventions concerning forced labour, freedom
of associations, the right to organize, employment policy and equal
remuneration. 54/  The country has also acceded to the four Geneva Conventions
and their two additional Protocols.

                        1.  Life and personal security

76.  As noted above, the Government took several steps to bring paramilitary
groups under control in the aftermath of the civil war, and succeeded in
reducing considerably the number of killings and harassment of civilians. 
However, ethnically motivated murders still take place, including persons of
Kulyabi origin.  It is uncertain the extent to which this is a feature of the
armed conflict that is taking place in other parts of the country between
regular armed forces.

77.  At the time of the mission, serious concern was expressed to the
Representative both by the returnees and by international organizations over
the treatment of prisoners, and in particular over life-threatening prison
conditions.  It was reported that young persons who had been sentenced to
imprisonment for minor offenses, regularly were sent home dead as a result of
lack of food and medicines.  The right to life, the right to freedom from
torture, inhuman and degrading treatment are non-derogable provisions of
international law, and it is the duty of the state to ensure with all
available means, including through international cooperation, that violations
of these rights do not occur.  ICRC for a long period had been denied access
to the detention centres, and was thus without the possibility of assisting
the prisoners.  This has recently changed, in part as a result of
international pressure, and ICRC has now been allowed to visit several
detention centres.  Further steps need to be taken to improve prison
conditions, including through international monitoring of all detention
centres, and to make sure that family members are informed of the whereabouts
of those who have been detained.

78.  With the intensification of the conflict in the Tavildara area, some
20,000 persons were internally displaced during and after the mission to the
country.  In August 1996, the Representative and the Special Rapporteur on
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Mr. Bacre Waly Ndiaye, were
informed that some 300 of the internally displaced had been returned to the
area by the Government, allegedly voluntarily, and that the Government was
planning to continue such transports.  In view of the ongoing hostilities, the
large amount of land mines placed by both opposition and Government forces,
and the fact that international organizations have been denied access to the
areas, which prevented them from assessing their safety and providing
essential food and medical assistance, serious concern was expressed for the
lives and the personal security of the internally displaced persons concerned.

Consequently, a joint urgent appeal by the Representative and the Special
Rapporteur was sent to the Government, drawing its attention to the relevant
provisions of international law and requesting information on the steps taken
to prevent the occurrence of such incidents in the future.  Similarly, while
international organizations assisted the Government in establishing three
reception centres for the internally displaced, provided with dormitories and
food, they do not consider conditions safe enough to warrant return.

79.  Security concerns seemed to be the main problem in two of the areas of
return visited by the Representative.  In a Pamiri community located in the
capital the most acute problem expressed was the fear of conscription into the
armed forces.  Since the hostilities have resumed and intensified, Government
forces reportedly recruit new combatants by conducting raids at night,
searching buses and houses and arresting young men in the streets.  They are
then allegedly taken to the police station, beaten if they refuse to obey, 55/
and sent to combat zones without proper training.  The practice has forced
many young men to stay indoors for months, or to flee from the area, leaving
the women behind with the difficult task of supporting their families.  While
it has been alleged that men of Pamiri and Garmi origins were particularly
singled out for conscription in the last two years, it seems that the need for
combatants today has led to indiscriminate recruitment in some areas. 
However, it has been reported that those recruited in the Leninabad Oblast
receive proper training before being sent to the combat zones.

80.  It is the sovereign right of any state to carry out recruitment, and
there is normally today no requirement that this be voluntary on the part of
the individual.  However, conscription practices should be in accordance with
the rule of law, including the fundamental principle of non-discrimination and
equality before the law.  Accordingly, if adequate training is provided to
those from the north, then a similar practice should normally be followed for
recruits from elsewhere.  There should furthermore not be arbitrariness in the
procedures with regard to singling out one group for drafting, and recruitment
must be carried out in accordance with domestic law.  Practices such as those
reported to the Representative do not fulfil these requirements.

81.  The Pamiri population in one village of returnees seemed to have little
confidence in the local authorities for help with their security concerns.  On
the contrary, it was apparent that those who spoke out, were afraid to do so. 
Several stated that they were convinced that they were going to be punished
afterwards for having told the Representative about their problems.  He was
told that they had been threatened in advance of his meeting with them by a
local official of Kulyabi origin, who had said that they should not voice
complaints or otherwise they would be arrested.  When questioned about the
returnees' fear, an official from the refugee department in the Ministry of
Labour suggested that this fear was due to the lack of psycho-medical
treatment after the return of the displaced, and that this had contributed to
the present sense of alienation among the returnees towards the authorities. 
While the absence of such treatment may provide a partial explanation, other
communities who had suffered the same experiences during the war did not make
similar complaints to the Representative, thus indicating that the level of
protection provided by local authorities varies considerably.

82.  In the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast, security concerns were above
all related to violence allegedly carried out by the Russian Border Forces. 
Several serious episodes were reported, including the shooting of civilians
and civilian targets.  While the presence of these troops provide state
security, these episodes have led to a shift in perception among the local
population.  From a previously neutral attitude, they increasingly consider
the presence of the Russian Border Forces as tantamount to occupation.  The
population has not felt that there is any channel available to report on these
events, neither to the Government nor to the international community.  When
the Representative asked a displaced woman what message she wanted him to
bring back to her leaders in the capital, she answered "We have no leaders
over there", thus clearly reflecting the present feeling of alienation.

                            2.  Freedom of movement

83.  The Tajik legislation provides for freedom of movement.  However, the
current insecurity has led to numerous checkpoints along the roads, and as the
security forces manning these roadblocks allegedly do not receive sufficient
salaries, they are reportedly confiscating goods carried by the civilians, as
well as harassing them.  Given the negative repercussions on reconciliation
and development of trade, it is important that measures are taken to prevent
such practices.  Measures could include an information campaign to the general
public that the Government is committed to address this problem, and
instructions to the security forces that harassment of civilians and
confiscation of their goods will not be tolerated.

                                 3.  Education

84.  The situation in the education system reflects the wider problems faced
by society.  Some efforts have been made by the international community to
repair damaged school buildings and heat them in the winter period, provide
food for work as an incentive for teachers not to leave their posts, and
distribute food to the children to encourage school attendance.  In light of
the population growth, together with the high number of vacant posts which has
resulted from the emigration of the most qualified teachers, classes take
place in two or three daily shifts.  School attendance nevertheless is
affected by the need for children to work and earn money and by the practice,
in the Kurgan-Tyube region, of compelling teachers and children to provide
forced labour in the fields during the cotton harvesting season.  The quality
of education also has been compromised by the lack of teaching material.

                           4.  Freedom of expression

85.  Although the Constitution protects freedom of expression, the Government
severely restricts the possibility of voicing public criticism.  A number of
journalists have been murdered in the past years by unknown groups, generally
without charges being raised 56/ and harassment and dismissals have led to a
high level of self-censorship in the few newspapers that remain.

86.  Freedom of expression is one of the cornerstones of democracy, and the
lack of a well-functioning mass media constitutes a fundamental problem for
the normalization of Tajik society.  The lack of a possibility to express
criticism restricts public access to reliable information, and according to a
senior official, most of those who left do not believe in the changes that
have taken place in Tajikistan because the information they receive is not
accurate.  Thus, the internally displaced who were contemplating return from
Gorno-Badakhshan relied on rumours and news from relatives returning from the

87.  For decades, tensions in Tajik society under the Soviet regime were
prevented from rising to the surface.  This absence of a peaceful channel for
criticism has contributed to the polarization of Tajik society.  State-
controlled mass media also opens up the possibility of manipulating the
results of elections, a problem which has increased with the imposition of
restrictions that prevent a genuine multi-party system from functioning.  In
order to strengthen civil society and facilitate the peaceful expression of
news, there is a need for financial and technical support for the mass media. 

              5.  Non-discrimination and equality before the law

88.  The Tajik Constitution provides for protection against discrimination,
and explicitly states that men and women have the same rights.  In addition,
the authorities have repeatedly stated their commitment to equality and
non-discrimination, and it was apparent in the discussions of the
Representative with government officials at both the central and local level
that they were making efforts to ensure that the law was being applied to
persons of all ethnic groups in an equal manner. 

89.  However, the Representative noted discrepancies between the picture
given by Government officials and the description of the problems as presented
by many formerly displaced persons.  With regard to work and housing for
example, the law "on forced migrants" stipulates a right for the displaced to
restitution of their property and to regain work equivalent to the previous
one held.  Penal law has also been enacted to enforce non-compliance on these
issues.  While the authorities have made efforts to ensure that cases of
illegally occupied houses are solved, and many of the cases have been dealt
with fairly and justly, there still remains a significant amount of unresolved
cases where the local authorities have been unable to prevent de facto ethnic
discrimination, owing to intimidation, limited capacity of the judiciary,
pressure exercised on judges, and in some cases because decisions of eviction
have not been enforced by the local police.  As a result the formerly
displaced are often hesitant to bring cases of discrimination to the

90.  The Representative also received repeated complaints during his visits
to Garmi and Pamiri communities in the capital and in the Kurgan-Tyube area,
of persons having lost their employment to persons of a different ethnic
origin.  Internally displaced persons and minorities are in practice often
overlapping categories in Tajikistan, and distinctions in problems facing them
are blurred.  Accordingly, the improved protection of minorities would
increase protection for former and present internally displaced persons.

91.  Massive unemployment certainly accounts for some of these problems, but
in such difficult conditions, it is even more important to ensure that
discrimination does not take place, and that justice is seen to apply equally
to everyone.  Formerly displaced persons are often particularly exposed, since
their coping capacities have been reduced.  The risk and consequences of
losing employment are even more serious for women and women-headed households.

They suffer from double discrimination, as a result of belonging to a minority
and because of gender.  They also have more problems to establish an
alternative source of livelihood because of unavailable credit opportunities. 
More efforts are therefore urgently required to ensure that the law is being
adequately implemented, so that it provides equal protection to the rights of
all persons.

                                6.  Rule of law

92.  The current economic crisis has led to serious problems for the Tajik
authorities to disseminate legislation and decrees throughout the country. 
During his visit to Gorno-Badakhshan, local government officials erroneously
informed the Representative that internally displaced persons living in their
region no longer qualified for the rights that had been granted them by the
law "on forced migrants"; this law had a provision limiting the status of
forced migrant to a period of three years.  In fact, a presidential decree had
almost a year earlier abolished the time limit, 57/ but this was unknown to
the local officials.  The local authorities were committed to assist the
displaced, and had distributed land in order for them to build a house or
cultivate land.  However, some of the remaining internally displaced persons
informed the Representative that they received almost daily visits from local
officials, telling them that they were no longer entitled to live in public
buildings and threatening them with eviction.

93.  This example illustrates the severe consequences of the present
deficiency:  unless the law is accessible to civil servants, the judiciary and
the inhabitants, it is not possible to ensure an effective administration of
the country, nor to have equality before the law.  Central government
officials expressed their deep concern to the Representative, and called for
help from the international community to overcome the problem.  With the
financial difficulties, they had no means to publish the relevant texts, and
the lack of paper and photocopiers made it difficult for them to distribute
even a minimum amount of copies to the districts.  The print media could not
be utilized either, since the circulation figures of the few newspapers still
functioning were too limited to satisfy even the demands of the capital. 

94.  Another problem which was reported to the Representative relates to the
independence of the judiciary.  While the Constitution states that judges are
independent, and prohibits interference in their activities, the main
criticism of OSCE of the draft constitution was the lack of independence for
the judiciary.  OSCE regards additional legislation on the judicial system,
which was passed in March 1996, as an initial step in strengthening the
independence of the judiciary, although the issue still needs attention.  At
present, the main problems lie in the lack of security of tenure for judges,
the fact that their salaries are so low that they are vulnerable to
corruption, and that they are easily influenced by paramilitary groups.

95.  Thus, in spite of several important improvements in the quality of its
domestic legislation over the past years, Tajikistan still faces problems with
regard to meeting the requirements of international standards on the rule of
law.  The main problem lies in its implementation, pertaining to accessible
legislation and independent tribunals which can solve cases within a
reasonable time.  As a result, many persons are still hesitant to utilize the
justice system, and in view of the fact that a peaceful solution to the
conflict has not yet been found, a strengthening of the rule of law is crucial
for persons to feel safe.  While some assistance has been provided by UNHCR
and OSCE, there is still an urgent need to strengthen the judiciary, through
financial support, capacity-building, training of court personnel and law
enforcement officials.

96.  A significant step to promote the protection of human rights was
recently taken by the Government with the establishment of a national
ombudsman.  OSCE has been instrumental in supporting this initiative, and has
agreed to provide financial assistance to his office.  While internal scrutiny
is important, the Representative urges the Government to ratify the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, together with its
Optional Protocols.  The image of Tajikistan would benefit from a positive
attitude towards human rights, and the two treaties provide a solid framework
for a thorough and regular review by legal experts, in dialogue with the
authorities, on a range of human rights which are fundamental for the
strengthening of Tajik society and the well-being of its inhabitants.

                            V.  THE QUEST FOR PEACE

                  A.  Political negotiations and peacekeeping

97.  Since displacement in Tajikistan resulted from the civil war, the search
for peace is pivotal.  In recognition of the magnitude of the humanitarian
crisis and its potential impact on regional stability, the international
community soon initiated efforts to stabilize the situation and assist in
resolving the conflict.  In November 1992, a United Nations good-offices
mission was sent to the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan
and Kazakstan.  The authorities in these countries agreed that humanitarian
initiatives had to be reinforced by peacemaking and peacekeeping
activities, 58/ since only a comprehensive approach could achieve the goals
that had been set.

98.  Within the framework of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the
Governments of Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan and
Uzbekistan decided in August 1993 to establish a coalition defence force in
Tajikistan.  They also declared that a political settlement remained the main
priority and called on the international community for support in this regard.

In addition, the Russian army, which had already during the war protected key
installations from being damaged, 59/ deployed troops to guard the border with
Afghanistan. 60/  The collective Commonwealth of Independent States
peacekeeping force, together with the Russian Border Forces, gradually reached
the strength of 25,000 soldiers.  These forces have limited the capacity of
the opposition forces to engage in large-scale military action on Tajik
territory, and have therefore provided some degree of stability in the
country.  Nevertheless, the opposition has succeeded in making many attacks
across the border from Afghanistan, and it is reportedly now in control of
some parts of Tajikistan's territory.

99.  On the political side, mediation carried out by the Secretary-General's
Special Envoy for Tajikistan gradually led to high-level negotiations between
the Government and the united opposition.  These inter-Tajik talks, which were
carried out under United Nations auspices, but with assistance from other
interested Governments that participated as observers, eventually led to a
ceasefire agreement, exchange of prisoners and other confidence-building
measures, including the establishment of a joint commission to monitor
adherence of the parties to the agreement. 61/  The process has been supported
by the deployment of a United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan,
which assesses the military and security situation on the ground, monitors
adherence to agreements by the parties, and facilitates communication.

100. In spite of foreign military presence and years of negotiations, peace
still remains fragile.  The ceasefire agreement has been frequently violated,
with mutual accusations over the resumption of hostilities and for the lack of
will to implement the agreements of the Inter-Tajik Talks.  The impact of the
mediation process therefore is difficult to assess.  In his report on the
situation in Tajikistan to the Security Council, the Secretary-General
expressed in June 1996 his concern at the serious deterioration of the
situation, "which is at its worst and most volatile since the end of the civil
war of 1992". 62/

101. The conflict seems unresolved because the losing side remains excluded
from power and wealth.  After the war, the two previous provinces of
Kurgan-Tyube and Kulyab were merged into one, the Khatlon Oblast, so as to
increase the control of the winning group over the other region.  The four
major opposition parties were banned by the Supreme Court on 24 June 1993, on
the ground that they had violated their charters and engaged in unlawful
actions. 63/  In exile, they joined into the United Tajik Opposition.

102. It appears that the opposing parties' perceptions of each other have
hardened, thus closing the window of opportunity for compromise.  The
Government perceives the opposition as being dominated by Islamic
fundamentalists, and the opposition considers the Government to be narrowly
based and without a genuine will to share power.  This has prompted the
opposition to respond by targeted killings and murders carried out on an
ethnic basis.  Some of those who met with the Representative suggested that as
the conflict has continued, the moderate parties have been pushed aside and
replaced by hard-liners, so that preconceived perceptions are becoming
reality.  Implementation of agreements also has been complicated by the fact
that neither of the parties have been able to establish unified chains of
command; 64/ and with the rise in hostilities, military field commanders have
gained increased political influence, leaving less room for the negotiators to
compromise.  As a result, the progress of the peace negotiations has been

103. From the outset, the national confrontation appears zero-sum in the
sense that the parties do not seem willing to negotiate in terms that are
acceptable to the other; nor are they inclined to make compromises.  All
efforts seem to be concentrated around the issue of power-sharing, and the
ongoing struggle leaves little room for discussion or sufficient consideration
of policy directions for the country.  Ironically, both the Government and the
opposition have stated that they advocate a political solution to the conflict
and a democratic and pluralistic society based on the rule of law.  However,
the parties seem fearful of each other's real motives, and suspicious that the
stated objectives are not genuinely meant. 

104. The Government, which has included freedom of religion in the
Constitution, is frightened by the prospect of seeing the current State system
overthrown by Islamic fundamentalists.  Influenced by decades of Soviet rule,
it wants to maintain a secular State, with equal participation of women in
public life.  In this connection, an observer informed the Representative that
three young girls had recently been murdered in the Garm region for having cut
their hair and danced in public.  One senior government official, who
professed to be a practising Muslim himself, told the Representative that he
rejected the fundamentalist perspective as fanaticism and argued that the
commitment of the opposition to a secular State was only a tactical
consideration.  The Government, then, associates the opposition threat with
its fear of Islamic fundamentalism and insists that the Government's electoral
law, Constitution and Parliamentary elections be respected. 

105. The opposition, for its part, considers government fears of a religious
takeover unfounded and argues that government discourse is hiding its
unwillingness to share power.  Furthermore, apart from one faction in one of
the opposition parties which accepts operating within the framework of the
current political system, the opposition rejects the legitimacy of the
Government and Parliament, as well as the validity of the Constitution. 

106. The referendum on the Constitution was held in November 1994, together
with presidential elections, and parliamentary elections were held in February
1995.  Several observers who spoke with the Representative considered the way
in which the referendum and parliamentary elections were carried out to be a
lost opportunity for the Government to reach out for reconciliation in the
country.  Given the importance of these events, it was considered crucial that
the whole population be able to participate in the process, and that the
opposition be able to influence the text of the Constitution and participate
on equal terms in the elections.  For this purpose, the Government was
requested by intergovernmental organizations and other countries to postpone
the elections, so as to allow time for adequate preparations.
107. While the Government agreed to a limited postponement of the elections,
the time allowed was insufficient to permit the effective participation of the
opposition.  Furthermore, it has been reported that the Parliamentary
elections were neither free nor fair and did not meet OSCE standards. 
Opposition candidates were still charged with crimes, and the main political
opposition parties remained banned.  Thus, the opposition was prevented from
nominating candidates and participating on equal terms, and therefore
boycotted the elections. 65/  Instead of confirming the state authorities'
right to govern, the elections thus led to further division in society. 

               B.  Conflict configuration at the regional level

108. There has also been discontent within the winning coalition.  The war
led to increased political influence for the Kulyab region in the south-east
at the expense of the northern-based former elite.  The Government is now
commonly perceived as being dominated by Kulyabis, who also have tried to
consolidate their power in other regions by substituting local officials with
persons of Kulyabi origin.  This led to serious protests and disturbances
among the local population in the Leninabad Oblast in May 1996, and Kulyabi
civil administrators and law enforcement officials had to be urgently
evacuated from the region.  Since this region has been much less affected by
the civil war than the rest of the country, is industrialized and closer to
foreign markets, it has been seeking economic and democratic development in a
more active way than other regions.

109. Ethnic Uzbeks had expected recognition and reward for their
participation in the conflict and made proposals to establish a separate
province so as to increase their influence and self-government.  These
proposals have not been accepted, and as a result of the creation of the
Khatlon Oblast, the Uzbek population has felt that it has become subject to
even further domination by the Kulyabi group.  Limited political influence has
been a source of frustration and has led to two serious episodes previously in
January 1996.  Powerful ethnic Uzbek warlords demonstrated their power, in one
instance by taking members of the Tajik border guards hostage in the city of
Turzunzade, and in another occupying the city of Kurgan-Tyube, before marching
towards Dushanbe, and demanded changes in the composition of the Government as
well as a decrease in corruption.  By accepting some of the demands, the
Government was able to find a peaceful solution to the insurrections.

110. The Autonomous Oblast of Gorno-Badakhshan presents a different picture
than the seemingly zero-sum game at the national level.  In June 1993 the
local authorities informed the Government that they were no longer pursuing
the goal of independence.  They also agreed with the Government not to allow
guerrilla activities in the province, and as a counterpart the Government
agreed to keep its forces out of the region.  These commitments have only been
implemented to a limited extent.  The local authorities are not in a position
to prevent the opposition from entering the province, and in response some
Government forces have been deployed in the region.  However, while the armed
struggle has intensified in other parts of the country, there are no open
hostilities between the parties in Gorno-Badakhshan, and the situation has
been characterized by international observers as a "phony war", conducted
mainly through propaganda.  Furthermore, the attitude in Gorno-Badakhshan
between the local Government and the opposition seems far more conciliatory
than at the national level; in their discussions with the Representative, both
emphasised that "we are one people".  A contributing factor to the truce is
the cultural and religious identity of the Pamiris.  The massive assistance
provided by the Aga Khan Foundation to the whole population, regardless of its
political or religious affiliation, has strengthened the sense of common
identity and solidarity among the population.  The role played by His
Highness, Aga Khan, the Imam of the Ismaili Muslims, has been an important
contribution to the relative peace and stability in this region.

                  C.  Activities to foster reconciliation at the
                      grass-roots level                          

111. Several steps have been taken by the Government in cooperation with
international organizations to foster peace-building and reconciliation. 
UNHCR initiated an art and culture programme with a view to bring people of
different ethnic backgrounds together around a common Tajik heritage.  To this
end, a 10-day festival was held in December 1995 in the capital and
Kurgan-Tyube, with a variety of artistic performances, including music, dance,
poetry, theatre and film.  The peace and reconciliation programme was handed
over to UNDP by the end of 1995, and this year a running-race was held in the
capital.  As was the case with the festival, thousands participated in the
event.  The Representative visited in the Kurgan-Tyube area one of nine youth
clubs that UNDP, together with the local authorities, has established.  The
youth club had more than 85 children, who, in addition to learning a variety
of skills, such as farming or photography, were assisting war veterans and
families in need of assistance with housing construction and distribution of
self-grown wheat and maize.  An integrated part of the peace-building project
is that both the children and the beneficiaries belong to different ethnic

112. UNICEF has initiated in cooperation with the Ministry of Education a
programme to address the problem of war-induced stress in children.  The
programme, which is implemented entirely by the Ministry, targets all primary
schools in the country, involving more than 500,000 children.  A booklet has
been produced, and seminars have been held for the teachers, to enable them to
integrate messages and activities regarding peace, tolerance of diversity and
conflict resolution as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child
throughout the curricula.

                               VI.  CONCLUSIONS 

113. Displacement in Tajikistan resulted from the struggle for power between
groups with conflicting views of the future of their country.  The search for
a common ground through cooperation and dialogue during the months surrounding
Tajikistan's independence was soon replaced by confrontation, and the conflict
intensified and degenerated into civil war.  While the end result of this war
seemed clear in military terms, the origins of the conflict still remained to
be addressed.  A major positive feature is that none of the parties today
challenge the concept of Tajikistan as a unified state.  Within the state,
there has been room for the semi-autonomy of the Gorno-Badakhshan region, a
status reflected in the Constitution.  However, ongoing social tensions, a
severely disrupted economy and continuing military clashes in some areas have
raised concern that extended crisis could destroy the underpinnings of the

114. After the civil war the return of hundreds of thousands of internally
displaced persons took place in a volatile environment.  To promote
reintegration the international community engaged in peacemaking and
peacekeeping activities coupled with the provision of humanitarian assistance
and efforts at protection.  UNHCR, the lead agency in Tajikistan, engaged in a
broader range of activities than is normally the case, in order to respond to
the needs of returning internally displaced persons and promote social
stability.  The programme of return and reintegration included mediation,
human rights monitoring, and protection and assistance for both refugees and
internally displaced persons.  Collaboration with the central Government and
local authorities contributed to promoting confidence and building social
stability - elements of primary importance for the accomplishment of the

115. As the situation improved, UNHCR phased down its presence in the
country.  Responsibility for ongoing human rights monitoring and
rehabilitation activities are now primarily in the hands of other agencies, in
particular OSCE and UNDP.  The dependency resulting from the provision of
relief assistance, however, has not yet been effectively followed by viable
development projects which could make the returns sustainable.

Institutional framework

116. While United Nations assistance was initially based on an inter-agency
approach, developments led UNHCR to assume the lead role for activities in the
country, and it served in this role until UNDP took over as Resident
Coordinator.  Considering the most appropriate institutional mechanism to
assist and protect the internally displaced, the experience in Tajikistan
makes a strong case for the lead agency model in complex emergencies.  It
should be studied closely, with a view to its replication in other appropriate

117. The presence of a lead agency, however, should not prevent other
agencies from participating at the earliest stage possible, in support of the
lead agency.  In this case, the development-oriented projects initiated by
UNHCR could have benefitted earlier from the expertise of UNDP.  Incorporating
beneficiary participation into quick impact projects and small enterprise
development planning is one important aspect of development which UNDP's
earlier involvement could promote.  Whether such activities require that UNDP
be present in the country or consulted at the conceptual stage should be
closely examined.

Cooperation between the Government and the international community

118. International assistance, whether for humanitarian or development
purposes, cannot be carried out successfully without support from the national
Government. When the Government of Tajikistan considered the return of the
displaced a national priority, it facilitated this task through a number of
means within its capacity, and this commitment made it much easier for UNHCR
to carry out its protection function.  Similarly, the good cooperation
reported with the Bretton Woods institutions reflects the high priority the
Government is giving to the improvement of the economic situation.  This has
led to tangible results, such as the development of a strategy to curb

119. By contrast, with the increase in the number of humanitarian
organizations operating in Tajikistan, coordination and cooperation between
the humanitarian community and the Government has weakened.  This has led to
misunderstandings, suspicion and alienation on both sides with negative
effects on the activities being carried out.  While civil servants in organs
working directly with the humanitarian community are familiar with the
respective roles played by the organizations, senior government officials told
the Representative that apart from a few major agencies, other organizations
and their activities were unknown to them.  Reciprocally, representatives of
United Nations agencies and international non-governmental organizations
complained about lack of access to governmental counterparts, without which it
was difficult to ascertain whether the Government was supporting, or at least
in agreement with, the projects being undertaken.

120. An example is instructive.  Several income-generating activities were
established by humanitarian and development organizations on the assumption
that cotton seed was a locally available input.  Although efforts had been
made to inform the authorities about the projects, communication was
unsuccessful and the projects had to be discontinued in the end, because the
Government decided to use the seeds for a different purpose.  If effective
consultations could have been held between the Government and the relevant
international agencies at the time the projects were initiated and during the
different stages of the projects, this could have been avoided.  In the
absence of effective consultation, time was lost, resources wasted, and
activities had to be cancelled.

121. Similarly, the introduction of a new tax system which taxes
non-governmental organizations is not understood by some of the international
non-governmental organizations which met with the Representative and argued
that activities based on development assistance should not be subject to tax. 
It is evident that any State needs a sound economic foundation to finance its
activities, and that when established enterprises carry out economic
activities they should on an equal basis contribute to a Government's tax
base.  However, the controversy over the taxation of non-governmental
organizations reflects a serious lack of communication between the Government
and the humanitarian community.

122. In order for international assistance to be effective, coordination
between the Government and the humanitarian community will need considerable
improvement.  It is important that an effective mechanism be established, so
that international actors and the authorities can discuss issues of common
concern on a regular basis, share information on current activities and take
joint decisions, especially on how best to meet the needs of vulnerable
groups.  A number of sectors would benefit from increased cooperation and
exchange of information, in particular on the Government's plans and
priorities and the strategies being pursued by international humanitarian and
development organizations.  The mechanism should include the representatives
of international agencies, non-governmental organizations and senior
Government officials from key Ministries, such as the Ministries of Justice,
Interior, Health, Labour and Foreign Affairs.  It should assess the situation
within different sectors, monitor progress in implementation of decisions and
work to further refine its strategies.

Future prospects

123. The Government of Tajikistan, with the encouragement of the
international community, has begun to address the formidable task of
reconstruction after the civil war.  In order to become a self-reliant and
stable society the country will need continued support in the future as well. 
Tajikistan has reportedly a wealth of untapped natural resources and has
inherited assets from the Soviet era, including roads and railways, a network
of irrigation channels and a high degree of electrification.  Maintenance,
however, is sorely needed to prevent the collapse of these systems.  Given the
traditionally high value placed on education and literacy, Tajikistan has the
potential to develop its human capital as well.

124. For stability to be achieved, it is necessary to develop the capacity
for good governance as well.  This requires a broadened and more
representative political base within the legislative and executive branches of
the State and a further strengthening of the human rights situation in the
country.  A political solution to the conflict will necessarily involve a
broadening of the basis of the regime, and while this will be the natural
outcome of successful negotiations, the Government could foster
confidence-building, both at the political and grass-roots levels, by taking
measures on its own in this direction. 

125. Meanwhile, the conflict remains unresolved.  It flared up very seriously
during the summer of 1996.  In the absence of a political solution the
situation in Tajikistan remains volatile, and the international community
should do all it can to promote peace in the area.  The ongoing conflict
renders long-term planning difficult and inhibits foreign investment, since
the current economic crisis exacerbates political and economic instability. 
The strengthening of Tajikistan's economy should continue to be an area of
high priority.  Strengthening the rule of law and promoting and protecting
human rights will also be pivotal for the stability of the country.  The
Government regularly has affirmed its commitment to developing an effective
judicial structure and to strengthening compliance with international human
rights standards.  The international community should impress upon it to
fulfil these stated goals.  The cooperation established by the Government with
UNHCR, and thereafter with OSCE, is encouraging.  The Government would also
benefit from cooperating with other organizations.  Among these, the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Centre for Human Rights
could provide assistance with human rights monitoring and, through its
technical assistance and advisory services programme, with
institution-building.  Expanded monitoring is needed to address abuses along
the border with Afghanistan, and in the areas of renewed fighting to which
international agencies have had limited access thus far.  Cooperation between
the Government and the international community within all these fields would
demonstrate a genuine and continued commitment on its part, which would in
turn enhance the interest of potential donors in supporting the longer-term
efforts of the Government.


     1/  "UNHCR report on Tajikistan, January 1993-March 1996", UNHCR,
May 1996, p. 4 (hereinafter referred to as the UNHCR report).

     2/  According to a census conducted by the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics in 1989, the total population was estimated to be 5.1 million;
estimates by the International Monetary Fund in May 1992 and November 1994
indicated a population of, respectively, 5.6 million and 5.7 million.

     3/  "Return to Tajikistan, Continued Regional and Ethnic Tensions",
Human Rights Watch/Helsinki (HRW/H), May 1995, vol. 7, No. 9, pp. 4 and 7
(hereinafter referred to as the HRW/H report, vol. 7, No. 9).

     4/  UNHCR report, p. 15.  Because of the volatile situation and lack of
administrative capacities at the time, it is difficult to provide reliable

     5/  "The CIS Conference on Refugees and Migrants", European Series,
UNHCR, Regional Bureau for Europe, January 1996, vol. 2, No. 1, p. 18;
"UNHCR's operational experience with internally displaced persons",
September 1994, UNHCR, p. 54 (hereinafter referred to as the UNHCR's
operational experience).

     6/  Government estimations suggest that "over 679,000 returned out of
697,000 internally displaced persons" (Statement to the CIS Conference by the
Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan, Mr. K. Z. Gyasov, Geneva,
30 and 31 May 1996).  According to UNHCR, an estimated 98 per cent of the
internally displaced persons had returned home by the end of 1995 (UNHCR
report, p. 25).

     7/  The recent hostilities in Tavildara have led to the flight of
approximately 16,500 internally displaced persons (S/1996/754,
13 September 1996, p. 8).

     8/  An Oblast is an administrative region, corresponding to a province,
and further subdivided into districts (rayons), collective farms, villages
(kishlaks) and streets.

     9/  "United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Programme of the
Government of the Republic of Tajikistan", programme document TAJ/95/002,
March 1996, p. 6 (hereinafter referred to as UNDP-TAJ/95/002).

     10/ Minorities include Ukrainians, Germans and smaller groups of Jews,
Koreans, Tatars, Georgians, Armenians, Bachkirs and others (S/26311,
16 August 1993, p. 2).

     11/ Owing to the deteriorating economic and political situation over the
last few years, a significant proportion of this group has left the country. 
Of an estimated 450,000 inhabitants, only 80,000-90,000 are reportedly left in
Tajikistan today, often without resources to emigrate, without support from
family members, and living in urban areas, thus without the possibility to

     12/ The Leninabad region.  The Ferghana Valley also extends into Uzbek
and Kyrgyz territory.

     13/ For example by making Tajik the official language, instead of

     14/ For example, Rastokhez (Renaissance) and the Democratic Party of

     15/ For example, Lali Badakhshan (the Ruby of Badakshan).

     16/ For example, the Islamic Renaissance Party.

     17/ "Tajikistan, Political conditions in the post-Soviet era", Alert
series, INS Resource Information Centre, United States Department of Justice,
AL/TJK/93.001, September 1993, p. 6 (with further reference to Commission on
Security and Cooperation in Europe, "Tajikistan", Implementation of the
Helsinki Accords:  Human Rights and Democratization in the Newly Independent
States of the Former Soviet Union, Washington, D.C.:  United States Government
Printing Office, January 1993, p. 222).

     18/ Tajikistan, however, did not gain its independence before the Soviet
Union was formally dissolved at the end of December 1991.

     19/ On 21 September 1991.

     20/ Which was lifted on 1 October 1991.

     21/ Davlat Khudonazarov, a Pamiri who was supported by the opposition.

     22/ Aziz Niyazi quoted in Julien Tho"ni, "The Tajik Conflict:  The
Dialectic Between Internal Fragmentation and External Vulnerability,
1991-1994" (Geneva:  Programme for Strategic and International Security
Studies, 1994), p. 22.

     23/ Safarali Kenjaev.

     24/ Including the Democratic Party of Tajikistan, the Islamic
Renaissance Party, Rastokhez and Lali Badakhshan.

     25/ A serious episode also took place in a village south of the capital
on 5 May, when the inhabitants refused to allow the passage of pro-government
demonstrators on their way from Kulyab to Dushanbe.  Armed bands from both
demonstrations then arrived to the scene, resulting in 17 persons being

     26/ "Human Rights in Tajikistan, In the Wake of Civil War", HRW/H,
December 1993, p. xvi (hereinafter referred to as HRW/H report).

     27/ Ibid., pp. xx-xxiii; "Tajikistan:  A Forgotten Civil War", the
Minority Rights Group International, January 1995, pp. 16 and 17; and
Olivier Roy, "Evolutions dans un environnement complexe", Ex-URSS:  les Etats
du divorce, p. 144 (hereinafter referred to as Olivier Roy, "Evolutions"),
suggesting that in the face of nationalism expressed by the opposition, the
communist party appeared as the best guarantee for stability and the
protection of Russians and other ethnic minorities.

     28/ HRW/H report, p. 55.

     29/ UNHCR report, p. 15.

     30/ Capital of the Leninabad Oblast.

     31/ "Tadzhikistan, Hidden terror:  Political Killings, 'disappearances'
and torture since December 1992", Amnesty International, AI Index: 
EUR 60/04/93, May 1993, p. 3.

     32/ Olivier Roy, "Evolutions", p. 141.

     33/ UNHCR report, pp. 3 and 4.

     34/ In December 1992 by the President, and in March 1993 by the Minister
of Interior.

     35/ With a period of repayment of 20 years and with no interest rate

     36/ UNHCR report, p. 21.

     37/ In the initial phases, the wooden elements had been imported from
Siberia, resulting in a delivery period of up to one year.  Later imports from
Europe reduced this to four months (UNHCR report, p. 29).

     38/ In the third phase, Save the Children Fund (United States) was
utilized as an implementing partner.

     39/ Material for 6,700 houses has reportedly been delivered so far
(HRW/H report, vol. 7, No. 9, p. 20; UNHCR report, p. 29).

     40/ For 1,000 houses in the first phase.

     41/ "Commonwealth of Independent States:  Assistance to Displaced
Persons, Other War Affected Populations and Vulnerable Groups; and Regional
Logistics Activities", WFP, situation report No. 6, May 1996, p. 58
(hereinafter referred to as WFP report).

     42/ Me'decins Sans Frontie`res (Belgium) implemented the programme from
its beginning in the spring of 1993, and the International Rescue Committee
from July 1994.

     43/ The two major export products, aluminium and cotton, have reduced
outputs by more than half (UNDP-TAJ/95/002, p. 5).

     44/ Estimates vary between 25 and 50 per cent (WFP report, pp. 56 and
57; UNDP-TAJ/95/002, p. 5).

     45/ Corresponds to an average wage of US$ 3 per month.

     46/ UNHCR report, pp. 52 and 53, with further reference to "Tajikistan: 
Survey of Household and Bazaar Economies" by Robert M. Birkenes, January 1996,
Save the Children (United States) and UNHCR.

     47/ Several persons complained during the mission that food or medicines
that had been intended for them, had instead ended up with neighbours of
different ethnic origin, or on the market place.

     48/ UNHCR notes however, that agencies have concentrated on food
distribution rather than the revival or regeneration of agriculture, and that
donors and other United Nations agencies have been alerted to this need
through inter-agency meetings (UNHCR report, p. 30).

     49/ UNHCR report, p. 44.

     50/ Ibid., pp. 43-45.

     51/ Shelter Now International also provides training on private
enterprise management in the Garm region, in roofing tile production sites.

     52/ UNHCR report, p. 47; Carolyn S. Peduzzi, "Independent Evaluation of
the UNHCR Small Enterprise Development Projects in Tajikistan",
14 December 1995, pp. 5 and 6.

     53/ "Feasibility Study on Enterprise Development in the Republic of
Tajikistan" by Ellen Pruyne, Small Business Advisor, UNHCR and Save the
Children (United States), 18 August 1995; "Tajikistan:  Survey of Household
and Bazaar Economies" by Robert M. Birkenes, January 1996, Save the Children
(United States) and UNHCR; and "The Women's Economic Survey of Tajikistan" by
Shahrbanou Tadjbakhsh, Ph.D, December 1995, UNHCR and Relief International
(UNHCR report, pp. 49-56).

     54/ ILO Convention 29 concerning forced labour, ILO Convention 87
concerning freedom of association and protection of the right to organize, ILO
Convention 98 concerning the application of the principles to organize and
bargain collectively, ILO Convention 122 concerning employment policy, and ILO
Convention 100 concerning equal remuneration for men and women workers for
work of equal value.

     55/ Persons interviewed in Dushanbe alleged that a 29-year-old man of
non-Kulyabi origin died in custody as a result of heavy beatings for his
refusal to fight in Tavildara.  Similar allegations were provided by other
credible sources.  Beatings and torture in custody were accounted in
"Tajikistan Human Rights Practices, 1995", United States Department of State,
March 1996, section 1(c) "Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment" (hereinafter referred to as United States Department
of State human rights report).

     56/ Central Asia and Transcaucasia Newsletter, Office for Democratic
Institutions and Human Rights, OSCE, vol. 1, No. 2, p. 6; United States
Department of State human rights report, section 2.

     57/ The decree 542 was adopted on 22 August 1995.

     58/ UNHCR's Operational Experience, p. 54.

     59/ Such as a chemical plant and a dam, the destruction of which could
lead to a disaster affecting neighbouring countries as well.

     60/ While the Commonwealth of Independent States peacekeeping force
initially included Tajik soldiers, they are no longer part of these troops. 
By contrast, some 80 per cent of the soldiers in the Russian Border Forces are

     61/ While the parties during the two first rounds in April and June 1994
were represented at a lower level, agreement on the ceasefire and exchange of
prisoners was reached during high-level consultations in Tehran, Islamic
Republic of Iran, from 12 to 17 September 1994.  A "joint commission on
problems relating to refugees and displaced persons from Tajikistan" was
established in the first round of meetings, but never played an important role
because the opposition members refused to come to Tajikistan.  In
February 1996, the work of the "Joint Commission for the implementation of the
Agreement on a provisional cease-fire and the cessation of other hostilities
on the Tajik-Afghan border and within the country" was halted as a result of
the abduction of one of its members, and the refusal of the Government to
ensure the safety of participants from the opposition.  After such guarantees
have been made, the Commission has recently resumed its work.

     62/ S/1996/412, para. 28.

     63/ Barnett R. Rubin, "Tajikistan:  From Soviet Republic to Russian-
Uzbek Protectorate", Central Asia and the World, p. 215.

     64/ On the government side, the armed forces are falling within the
Ministries of the Interior, Security and Defence, while the field commanders
of the opposition seem to operate with a considerable autonomy.

     65/ While there was a strong campaign during the presidential elections
and referendum, and a high degree of participation, there was less interest in
the parliamentary elections.


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