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Fate Of Uzbek Asylum Seekers In Kyrgyzstan

Annan Express Serious Concern At Fate Of Uzbek Asylum Seekers In Kyrgyzstan

New York, Jun 22 2005

Reacting to reports about the possible forced repatriation of Uzbek asylum seekers who fled the recent military crackdown in their country to take shelter in a rough camp in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today appealed to the Kyrgyz Government to abide by its international obligations in the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.

In a statement issued by a UN spokesman in New York, the Secretary-General expressed "serious concern" about the fate of the Uzbek asylum seekers, and in particular, reports about their possible forced deportation to Uzbekistan.

"Such a decision would contradict the commitments currently given to the Secretary-General by the Kyrgyz authorities and would constitute the violation of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention to which Kyrgyzstan is a signatory," the statement said.

"The Secretary-General has today received assurances that no decisions will be made on returning asylum seekers until this has been reviewed at the highest levels by the Government of Kyrgyzstan," the statement said.

According to the statement, the Secretary-General appealed to the Government of Kyrgyzstan to abide strictly by its international obligations in the treatment of asylum seekers and urged the Government of Uzbekistan to refrain from any action aimed at ensuring the forcible return of Uzbek asylum seekers to their country.

ENDS

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