Kyrgyzstan: UNHCR thanks government for Uzbek relocation away from border
UNHCR thanks the government of Kyrgyzstan for its successful relocation of about 470 Uzbek asylum seekers from the makeshift border camp where they had been living since the violent crisis that erupted in the Uzbek town of Andijan on 13 May. The camp at Barash - which was located right on the border between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan - was dismantled early on Saturday and its remaining inhabitants (not counting nine injured people who are currently still in hospital) were transported on 10 buses to a new camp site at Sasyk, 18 km east of the town of Jalalabad and well away from the border. UNHCR staff present during the operation said that, after some initial tensions, it proceeded calmly.
This is a very welcome development. Border camps are nearly always highly problematic, insecure and a source of tension between states. The Kyrgyz authorities have worked closely with UNHCR on solving this situation, and we applaud their persistence in the face of varied pressures and a number of setbacks.
The authorities had earlier identified two other sites, which UNHCR had also visited and agreed were suitable. However, in both cases, the local inhabitants strongly opposed the establishment of a new camp in their back yard, and the hunt for a suitable site had to start all over again.
UNHCR will maintain its presence in south-eastern Kyrgyzstan for the time being, so we can help the government with the new camp as well as with related issues such as carrying out a refugee status procedure for the asylum seekers.