In the year 2013, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) supported the Uzbekistan Red Crescent Society to strengthen the specific Red Cross and Red Crescent contribution to development through a migration project. Uzbekistan is primarily affected by migration as a country of origin, and its labour migrants frequently face vulnerabilities in the destination countries such as discrimination against them as ethnic and religious minorities, the issue of language difficulties and the risk of abuse and exploitation. The project is part of the regional migration project reaching out to migrants, potential migrants and their families through information and education centres within the framework of the Central Asian Red Crescent Labour Migration Network. The official launch of the regional project named “Empowering Central Asian Migrants and Returnees to Improve their Living and Protect their Dignity” took place in Astana, Kazakhstan, in May 2013. Cooperation with the Russian Red Cross, national priorities and ways to strengthen capacities of the regional labour migration network were discussed during the technical meeting that followed the launching event.
In December 2013, the IFRC`s Almaty office organised a regional event aimed at improving the cross-border cooperation on migration issues in the framework of the EU-supported project. The conference took place in Astana, Kazakhstan, and included two meetings for government officials and for the National Societies’ leaders and migration focal points. About 40 representatives of the Central Asian National Societies, government agencies from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, international organizations, foreign embassies and the Russian Red Cross attended the meetings. The Uzbekistan Red Crescent Society was represented by the Executive Director and the Migration Coordinator. The National Society of Uzbekistan, being a country of origin for migrants, contributed to constructive discussions with the government of Kazakhstan, a country of transit and destination, on improving the living of migrants and protecting their rights and dignity.