NUR-SULTAN (TCA) — The U.S. Government through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has committed $2 million dollars to protect migrants in Central Asia during the COVID-19 pandemic. This support will be delivered through the ongoing USAID-funded Safe Migration in Central Asia project, implemented by Winrock International, the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan said on May 26.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a humanitarian and financial crisis for millions of migrants in Central Asia, many of whom have been stranded in transit and destination countries across Central Asia.
The loss of jobs and remittances has left families without adequate resources and legal protections. Migrants also lack information about how to protect themselves from the virus, as well as the resources to do so.
Through the Safe Migration in Central Asia project, USAID will deliver much-needed assistance including informational resources; referrals to essential services; alternative livelihoods support; and skills training to help migrants navigate the difficult situation they are facing. The project will also ensure that migrants’ rights are protected through access to legal and psychological support.
The Safe Migration in Central Asia project supports five Central Asian republics with evidence-based practices and cross-border connections to strengthen the mutual accountability and effectiveness of governments, NGOs, and the private sector to prevent trafficking-in-persons (TIP), protect survivors, and promote safe migration.
USAID is working to better understand the unique challenges experienced by migrants and their families throughout Asia, which have been exacerbated during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Migrants can be negatively impacted by policies meant to protect the general population, experience limited access to systems of support, and may have to rely on dwindling natural resources for survival. As in Central Asia, investments are being made across the region to decrease vulnerabilities and strengthen systems for all.