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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

 

Uzbekistan: Evacuation 'violates international law'

From EurasiaNet:

The Uzbek Foreign Ministry issued a statement August 1 claiming that the evacuation of Uzbek refugees from facilities in Kyrgyzstan to temporary housing in Romania constituted a violation of international law.

The evacuation, which occurred July 29, was facilitated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration. In all, 439 Uzbeks were brought to temporary living quarters in Romania, where they are expected to spend at least several months before moving on to permanent destinations. Canada, for example, has pledged to accept 50 Uzbeks. The refugees fled to Kyrgyzstan following the May 13-14 Andijan events.

Tashkent had pressed Kyrgyzstan for the return of all the refugees. Some of the refugees told EurasiaNet that they feared for their safety if forced to return to their homeland.

The Uzbek statement characterized the evacuation as "unacceptable and outside interference" in Uzbekistan’s bilateral relationship with Kyrgyzstan. The evacuation underscored that "external forces" are continuing to wage "an undeclared information war" on Uzbekistan, the Foreign Ministry statement continued. It added that the international community exerted "unprecedented pressure" on Bishkek to send the refugees to a third country.

"The Uzbek side sees no need for such evacuation because, given the number of the moved Uzbek citizens in Kyrgyzstan, the people did not pose any threat of destabilization in the area of the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border," the statement claimed. "No charges have been brought against these people by Uzbek authorities; they have not been persecuted or put under pressure."

The statement claimed that the evacuation violated the 1951 United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.

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