Date: 4 April 2018

Issued by: IOM Central Asia

Tashkent, Uzbekistan - The Uzbek Government expressed the country's willingness 'to consider possible accession to IOM'. The intention of Uzbekistan to join IOM was reaffirmed within the visit of Ambassador William Lacy Swing, IOM DG, to Tashkent, where he held a number of high level talks with country's officials on Monday, 2 April 2018.

Mr. Abdulla Aripov, Prime Minister, emphasized that Uzbekistan was 'interested in further enhancing the effective and constructive cooperation with IOM'. At the meeting with Mr. Viktor Mahmudov, Secretary of the Security Council under the President of Uzbekistan, the hosting party mentioned that IOM DG's visit 'served to find new solutions for cooperation'.

Ambassador Swing also met with Mr. Aktam Khaitov, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, and discussed joint activities on labour mobility. The sides exchanged views on contemporary migration challenges and ways of overcoming them. The Minister presented the country's efforts to better ensure the rights of labour migrants, as well as to secure safe and orderly migration. Representatives from the Office of Prosecutor General and Ministry of Internal affairs, who also joined the meeting, reaffirmed the ongoing fruitful partnership in the sphere of counter trafficking and briefly presented the ongoing and perspective joint activities.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed IOM that Uzbekistan was currently considering a possibility to participate in the work of the IOM as a fully pledged member.

IOM and Uzbekistan welcomed the 'Roadmap on further developing the mutual cooperation in 2017-2019', covering joint efforts on counter trafficking and labour mobility.

IOM has been present in Central Asia since 1992, providing sustainable and collaborative solutions for managing migration through partnership, regional information sharing and capacity development.

Uzbekistan is a key country for cooperation in the region. Mutual partnership between IOM and Uzbekistan has been steadily progressing in recent years. The sides have successfully conducted a number of national and international joint activities so far. Representatives of Uzbekistan actively participate in regional activities of IOM in other Central Asian countries. IOM has been providing rescue, return, rehabilitation and reintegration assistance to nationals of Uzbekistan, who fell as victims of trafficking or became vulnerable in destination countries. The sides have established fruitful and constructive partnership. In particular, since 2015, IOM has been consistently engaged in joint activities with the Office of Prosecutor General, Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Ministry of Internal Affairs, National Human Rights Centre, National Rehabilitation Centre of Victims of Trafficking and others. Within Central Asian regional projects supported by donor-organizations, IOM also maintains good partnership links with a number of Uzbek NGOs to deliver direct assistance to victims of trafficking. IOM also successfully cooperates with diplomatic and consular representative entities of Uzbekistan in destination countries in delivering help to vulnerable migrants.

William Lacy Swing welcomed the positive developments taking place in Uzbekistan, including the sphere of migration management and delivering support to vulnerable migrants, and also noted the plans of the Government to mainstream migration into the socio-economic development of the country.

The sides agreed to give new impetus to the bilateral cooperation in order to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration for the benefit of all.

Established in 1951, IOM is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.With 169 member states, a further 8 states holding observer status and offices in over 100 countries, IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. It does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants.

Inquiries: Mr. Sanjarbek Toshbaev, Country Manager for Uzbekistan, IOM Central Asia.