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UN To Continue Flying Uzbek Refugees From Kyrgyzstan

Uzbek refugees in Osh awaiting transport to a third country Bishkek, 28 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) is expected to continue flying more than 400 Uzbek refugees in southwestern Kyrgyzstan to Bishkek today, where plans are being finalized for them to be flown to a third country for resettlement.

The 455 Uzbeks have been living in Kyrgyz refugee camps since fleeing their homes following an uprising and a military
crackdown in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijon in May.

Carlos Zaccagnini, head of the UNHCR's office in Kyrgyzstan, refused to reveal the name of the host country when
announcing the resettlement plan yesterday. He said the Uzbeks are protected by their refugee status.

"These Uzbek citizens have now been declared to be refugees by UNHCR and, as such, will be entitled for
resettlement. Resettlement procedures are usually lengthy [because] they do include a number of interviews and other
study on the individual."

In Geneva, Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed concern that Uzbek officials are in Kyrgyzstan to pressure authorities to hand over refugees.

(RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, Reuters, AFP)

See also:

Uzbekistan Calls On Kyrgyzstan To Hand Over Detainees

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