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Uzbekistan Calls On Kyrgyzstan To Hand Over Detainees

Uzbek refugees in Osh, Kyrgyzstan awaiting transfer to a third country 27 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The UN refugee agency says Uzbek authorities today reiterated their call on Kyrgyzstan to hand over some of the Uzbek citizens being held in detention in the border city of Osh.

Astrid Van Genderen Stort, UNCHR senior public information officer in Geneva, today told RFE/RL that the Uzbek military has asked for 12 of the 29 in detention to be handed over. But she said that Kyrgyz authorities have told the UNHCR that the 12 will not be handed over to Uzbek authorities.

"We have taken up the issue with the Kyrgyz authorities and we've received full assurances that the 12 people that [the Uzbek authorities] are asking for will be able to proceed to Bishkek just as planned," she said. "The presence of the Uzbeks will not affect this decision. So, we've received full assurances."

Kyrgyzstan detained the 29 Uzbeks at Uzbekistan's request for suspected criminal activities. The 29 entered Kyrgyzstan in May as part of a wave of hundreds of Uzbek refugees fleeing Uzbekistan following an uprising and a military crackdown in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijon.

The UNHCR today said that Uzbek refugees facing deportation from Kyrgyzstan will be flown to a third country by the UN refugee agency.


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