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Nearly All Uzbek Refugees Resettled Abroad, Group Says

July 31, 2006 -- Nearly all of the 439 Uzbek refugees who arrived in Romania last year in the wake of the Andijon crackdown by security authorities have been resettled abroad, according to the head of the Romanian mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The Uzbek refugees were transferred to Romania by the UN's refugee agency, the UNHCR, after they fled violence in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijon in May 2005.

IOM Romanian mission head Cristina Gheorghe-Tranca says all but two of the refugees are now living in various countries, including the United States, Australia, Canada, Finland, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Sweden.

Gheorghe-Tranca says the remaining two refugees will also be resettled but are staying in Romania until health problems improve.

At least 12 of the refugees sent to the United States returned to Uzbekistan earlier this month. The Uzbek government says they did so voluntarily.