UN official told about life of refugees in Kazakhstan
Today nearly 700 refugees live in Kazakhstan. Most of all them in Almaty, Almaty region and Shymkent. Deputy Regional representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Eduardo Irezabal has told about it in an exclusive interview to the BNews.kz correspondent.
"669 refugees lived in Kazakhstan for January 1, 2016. About 90% are natives of Afghanistan. Other refugees have arrived from Syria, Uzbekistan, Palestine, Yemen, Egypt, Somalia and other countries. These people are forced to leave their countries as a result of constantly continuing conflicts and violence, also in connection with prosecutions on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political convictions or belonging to a certain social group," Irezabal said.
Most of refugees live in the territory of Kazakhstan more than five years. And many of them are members of our society. However, despite it, they still face serious problems.One of their problems is their status which is equated to temporarily living foreigners. Therefore refugees have no access to obtaining citizenship and respectively they are not sure about their future.
"We cooperate with the government of Kazakhstan to change the status of refugees from "temporarily living" to "constantly living". It will expand possibilities of their legal employment, will allow to pay taxes to the budget of the country and to make the contribution to development of society, along with receipt of access to basic rights and services," the Deputy Regional representative specified.
According to the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On refugees", adopted on December, 2009 and to the corresponding legal acts, refugees are granted rather limited set of the social and economic rights, also they have no access to receipt citizenship. If the refugee receives the official status, he has the right to stay legally in the territory of the country within a year, but have to prolong it annually. But there is a problem in case of employment and the status temporarily staying in the territory of Kazakhstan does not allow them to use system of social protection, including pensions and other social payments.
"We have a huge number of examples of refugees, especially female refugees who make the contribution to development of the country, working as doctors, teachers and in other branches. When they have an opportunity they make the contribution to development of society with pleasure," Eduardo Irezabal said.
Munira Rahmani is the refugee from Afghanistan. She was only ten years old when she has arrived to Kazakhstan with parents in 1998. They forced to run from prosecutions of Talibs, they went seven days to Pakistan where have lived several months.
"We have to walk and as my brothers were too small we had to carry them on hands all the way. We had nothing to drink and eat, but we have been sure that it was the only opportunity to save our lives," Munira said.
After murder of her grandfather by Talibs in Pakistan, they have decided to run to Kazakhstan where they have received the status of refugees. Munira have to overcome many difficulties, she has learned language and today dreams to her children became citizens of Kazakhstan.
According to the local legislation, refugees have access to employment on the same basis as citizens of the country. The unique exception is that they unlike citizens of Kazakhstan, have no right to carry on an individual business.