The U.N. refugee agency has expressed shock over Kyrgyzstan's extradition of five Uzbek refugees who fled Uzbekistan after a bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters in Andijan last year.
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres says this is an extremely serious violation of the international refugee convention that bans the forcible return of refugees.
Guterres said what is more disturbing is that four of the five were granted refugee status by the U.N. and the fifth was an asylum seeker. He said Kyrgyzstan has failed to protect these refugees.
The five were among some 500 refugees who fled Uzbekistan following the violence in
May 2005, and found asylum in different countries through the U.N. agency.
The United Nations has called on the Uzbek government to ensure the basic human rights of the five refugees are respected.
Human rights groups and witnesses say Uzbek troops killed some 700 unarmed demonstrators during the crackdown in Andijan. The government says 187 people died, mostly Islamic militants.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.