Kyrgyzstan Returns 4 Refugees

by Laurence on 6/10/2005 · 1 comment

From Reuters AlertNet – Kyrgyz hand four refugees back to Uzbekistan -UN:

Kyrgyzstan’s security services have sent home four Uzbeks who fled a bloody government crackdown in the eastern town of Andizhan last month, a senior U.N. official said on Friday.

“Of course we are appalled by the news,” Carlos Zaccagnini, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees head of mission in Kyrgyzstan, told Reuters. He said the move was a breach of the 1951 Refugee Convention and Kyrgyz national law.

Human rights campaigners say they fear refugees may face torture if sent back to Uzbekistan. Around 500 are sheltering in Kyrgyzstan.

Uzbekistan, an authoritarian state in former Soviet Central Asia, has been pressuring its smaller neighbour Kyrgyzstan to hand over 12 refugees who escaped from a jail in Andizhan.

They are thought to include some of the 23 Muslim businessmen whose trial on religious extremism charges sparked the Andizhan rebellion when armed supporters broke them out of jail on May 13, a Western diplomat said.

The identity of the four sent back to Uzbekistan, and their fate, was not immediately known.

Update [Nathan]: I’ve just received emails from two people about this. Both say that Feliks Kulov is shocked to hear about this and that he wants to know who is responsible because the act violates agreements Kyrgyzstan has made. (Thanks, Ben and David)

Another Update RFE/RL reported that the Kyrgyz ombudsman said up to 100 refugees were returned.

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{ 1 comment }

Kate June 10, 2005 at 4:19 pm

The BBC has an article… mentions Kulov’s shock and suggests that it “may have been a breach of international law”.

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