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Uzbek refugees at the Kyrgyz border after the May 2005 crackdown in Andijon (file photo) (epa)
PRAGUE, March 21, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned that Uzbekistan's decision to shut down the operations of the UN refugee agency will deprive refugees of international protection.
This would set "a terrible precedent," the U.S.-based rights agency says.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on March 20 stated the Uzbek Foreign Ministry had on March 17 ordered the agency to close its office in Tashkent "within a month."
HRW connected the decision with the help the UNHCR provided to Uzbek refugees seeking asylum abroad after a government crackdown in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijon in May 2005.
The Uzbek government said the UNHCR had "fully implemented its tasks and there are no evident reasons for its further presence in Uzbekistan."
In Uzbekistan, the UNHCR's has been trying to meet the needs of the some 2,000 mainly Afghan refugees and asylum seekers.
A dedicated webpage bringing together all of RFE/RL's coverage of the events in Andijon, Uzbekistan, in May 2005 and their continuing repercussions.
An annotated timeline
of the Andijon events and their repercussions.