Repatriation and reintegration of children from Uzbekistan affected by conflict in Syria and Iraq
The conflicts in Iraq and Syria have presented a humanitarian and child-protection challenge of unparalleled complexity
In 2019, the Government of Uzbekistan became one of the first nations to carry out a large-scale repatriation of its citizens – mostly women and children – who had been living in detention facilities or designated sections of displaced persons camps in Iraq and Syria. In a campaign called “Mehr”, or, “kindness”, the President of Uzbekistan referred to the children as “his own”, demonstrating an exemplary level of political, financial and logistical resolve to facilitate their return and reintegration.
This document was developed to share the experience of the repatriation and reintegration campaigns in Uzbekistan. It is the product of a joint steering committee on repatriation and reintegration of children and women in Uzbekistan, comprised of representatives of the government, non-governmental entities, and UNICEF. The reflections, recommendations and conclusions were derived in close collaboration with the members, and through a series of key informant interviews with returnees, social workers, and other official individuals involved in the repatriation and reintegration efforts.
As Uzbekistan continues to return and reintegrate its remaining citizens, some of these reflections may also be used to further strengthen the ongoing work.