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Romania To Be Temporary Home For Uzbek Refugees

Uzbek refugees at Bishkek airport 28 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Romania says it will become the temporary home for some 450 Uzbek refugees who fled a government crackdown in Uzbekistan.

Romanian Foreign Minister Mihai-Razvan Ungureanu today said that the refugees will stay in Romania for up to six months.

He said they would then be transferred to other countries, including Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United States.

The refugees fled eastern Uzbekistan in May after an insurrection and a military repression that the UN described as a "mass killing."

Meanwhile, the UN today appealed to Kyrgyz authorities to release some detainees who were among the wave of refugees in May.

Uzbekistan says the detainees are criminals, and wants them extradited.

Tursunbek Akun, chairman of Kyrgyzstan's human rights commission, today said that 15 out of 29 detainees -- detained at Uzbekistan's request -- will remain in detention until Kyrgyz officials are sure they didn't commit serious crimes in Uzbekistan.

Akun said the other 14 detainees are to be released.

International rights groups have expressed concerns that the refugees could possibly face torture if returned to Uzbekistan.

(with agencies)


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