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Kyrgyzstan Allocates Land For Kyrgyz From Exclave In Uzbekistan


Kyrgyz refugees from the Barak exclave in Uzbekistan stayed in Ak-Tash village after the ethnic violence that spread in southern Kyrgyzstan last year.

Kyrgyz refugees from the Barak exclave in Uzbekistan stayed in Ak-Tash village after the ethnic violence that spread in southern Kyrgyzstan last year.

OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- The authorities in southern Kyrgyzstan have allocated up to 18 hectares of land to build homes for Kyrgyz citizens who want to leave an exclave in neighboring Uzbekistan, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The move follows complaints by the residents of Barak that they experience difficulties traveling to Kyrgyzstan proper.

Some 150 Kyrgyz families (more than 1,000 people) live in Barak, an exclave surrounded by Uzbek territory that is 1 1/2 kilometers from the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border.

In May, Barak residents sent a petition to Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva, Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev, and parliament urging them to show concern for the exclave's Kyrgyz population.

Residents say that when they leave their village, they have to undergo a document check because they are entering Uzbekistan, but then they immediately have to go through a second border check to enter Kyrgyzstan proper.

They say that because they have Kyrgyz passports, Uzbek border guards unnecessarily restrict their movements when they want to leave Barak. They say Uzbek border guards frequently refuse to allow them to travel to Kyrgyzstan to visit relatives or buy goods.

Many people in Barak fled their homes in June 2010, fearing reprisals for the violence against ethnic Uzbeks in Osh.

Officials in Osh, in southern Kyrgyzstan, say that the land allocated for Barak residents belongs to the nearby village of Ak-Tash in Osh's Kara-Suu district.

Prime Minister Atambaev signed a decree on the land allocation on July 29.

Read more in Kyrgyz here
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