News / Asia

Thousands of Uzbek Refugees Return Home

TEXT SIZE - +

United Nations aid agencies report tens of thousands of Uzbek refugees are returning to the homes they fled after ethnic clashes broke out in Kyrgyzstan earlier this month.  In light of these large returns, U.N. agencies say they are revising their assistance operations.

The refugee exodus from Uzbekistan is happening so quickly that accurate numbers are difficult to get.  So, U.N. agencies are relying upon figures supplied by the Kyrgyzs authorities.  They report 70,000 Uzbek refugees have returned so far.

At the same time Uzbek refugees are returning, U.N. refugee spokesman, Adrian Edwards, notes many internally displaced people in Kyrgyzstan also are going back to the homes they fled during the peak of the fighting.

"Both refugees and IDPs [internally displaced persons] have expressed to us mixed feelings about going home," he said. "Although people do want to be reunited with their families, many are worried for their safety and about going back to destroyed, damaged or looted properties.  We are concerned about the voluntary nature of returns in some cases.  UNHCR's view, and we have stated this before, is that where people are returning, they should be able to do so on an informed basis and in conditions of safety, voluntariness and sustainability."  

Edwards says the UNHCR is concerned returnees who find their homes have been badly damaged or destroyed might be on the move again and join the ranks of the internally displaced.

He says many people are moving in with families in their former neighborhoods.  He says conditions are crowded and there is an urgent need to further increase assistance.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance or OCHA says the situation is evolving quickly.

While more and more refugees are returning to Kyrgyzstan, OCHA spokeswoman, Elizabeth Byrs, says this does not mean the emergency is over.

She says the situation of internally displaced people remains acute and so do the needs. "There are needs of food, hygiene, shelter, medication, food for babies," she said.  "All the relief items you need when you have left everything, when your houses have been burned, when you have nothing and some members of the family have maybe disappeared.  So, it is still a dire situation and the situation is calm but tense."  

On Thursday, human rights group Amnesty International said it has anecdotal evidence that some refugees were forced onto buses to Kyrgyzstan.

This was done, the group said, by refugee camp guards and Uzbek security forces.

Amnesty International said it believes that the situation in southern Kyrgyzstan is still volatile because the Kyrgyzstani government does not have the confidence of the Uzbek population that they will be protected from renewed violent attacks.

You May Like

'Exceptionally Lucky' US Boy Survives Flight in Wheel Well

The boy was unconscious for most of the flight, and appeared to be unharmed after enduring the extremely cold temperatures and lack of oxygen More

US Anti-Corruption Law Snags Major Tech Company

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in December, 1977 More

Cameron Criticized for Calling UK 'Christian Country'

Letter from scientists, academics and writers says the prime minister is fostering division by repeatedly referring to England as a 'Christian country' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid