Secret services of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan made a pact to swap refugees

Special services of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have made a secret list of refugees residing in their territory and agreed on their mutual extradition.
In April 2015, representatives of special services of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan held a closed-door meeting. According to a credible source’s leaked information, a list of people living in these countries and wanted by the authorities was approved in this meeting. The information we receive from this source always gets confirmed.

Many on this list are subject to the protection criteria defined by the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees. Some of them applied to the UNHCR for refugee status.

The Uzbek side requested of Kyrgyzstan extradition of Karakalpak refugees. Uzbek authorities label these people “separatists” because they actively support independence of Karakalpakistan. More than 50 Karakalpaks living in Kyrgyzstan are under the threat of extradition. In Uzbekistan, they are at risk of torture, prolonged imprisonment and death. Relatives and persons with whom they maintained relations before their emigration are either in custody or under the total control of the security services.

The Kyrgyz side in return requested extradition of Kyrgyz citizens, ethnic Uzbeks, persecuted for their involvement in the Osh events of June 2010. Uzbekistan is known to be home to about 100 ethnic Uzbeks originally from the south of Kyrgyzstan. In the case of forced return, they are at risk of torture, life imprisonment, death, confiscation of property and discrimination against their relatives along ethnic lines. The government officials, nationalists and criminal gangs systematically put pressure on judges and lawyers in Kyrgyzstan. Therefore, ethnic Uzbeks in the country have no chance of an impartial and fair trial. Cases of Azimjon Askarov Dilmurad Khaidarov, Mirzahid Vahabzhanov and others show this to be the case.

In Uzbekistan, all Uzbeks who fled southern Kyrgyzstan have been under the surveillance of the National Security Service (SNB) for the last fine years. Their freedom of movement is restricted, the National Security Service seized their passports and curtails their attempts to legalise. In actual fact, they are refugees. They had to leave their homes under threat of death during inter-ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan and live in Uzbekistan illegally. The refugees were willing to legalise. However, the Uzbek authorities did not allowed them to do so and this puts these people in complete dependence on the decisions of various government departments, without any involvement of international organisations and independent observers.

If refugees exchange takes place, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan will demonstrate once again their reluctance to comply with international agreements on human rights and safeguard the rule of law.

Association for Human Rights in Central Asia calls on
 United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,
— United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,
 United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture,
 EU Commissioner for Human Rights,
— EU Commissioner for Central Asia
to intervene in this situation.

Association for Human Rights in Central Asia appeals to all diplomatic missions and the media to seek suspension of the mass expulsion of refugees and their forced return to the countries of origin, where they are in mortal danger. We urge you to do everything that is necessary for the legalisation of persons in need of international protection.