UNHCR and Partners Mark the 20th Anniversary of the Kyrgyz Republic’s Accession to the Refugee Convention


UNHCR organized today a panel discussion with key Kyrgyz partners for protection of refugees to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the accession of the Kyrgyz Republic to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. Ms. Cholpon Jakupova, member of the parliament and former head of Legal Clinic Adillet, and Mr. Almaz Asanbaev, Deputy Chairperson of State Migration Service addressed the students and faculty at the International University of Kyrgyzstan on international protection and answered questions related to achievements of the country.

Ms. Maki Shinohara, UNHCR Representative in the Kyrgyz Republic provided a brief overview of 20 years of partnership with the Kyrgyz Republic and noted progressive achievements made by the Kyrgyz Republic in building the national asylum system.

“To uphold international refugee law, it is important to have the feeling of compassion towards those who are forced to flee their homes because of violence,” Ms. Cholpon Jakupova said.  “Remember that many of the important people who have greatly contributed to the development of humanity were refugees -- including Einstein, Prophet Mohammad and Jesus Christ.”

“These days mixed migration poses unique challenges to the world, and the Kyrgyz Republic stands ready to continue its partnership with UNHCR in order to ensure international protection of asylum-seekers and refugees, and at the same time, take measures to ensure national security,” said Mr. Almaz Asanbaev.

Questions from students ranged from assistance to refugees and penalty toward states that act against international law. The panelists urged the students to study hard and contribute to building a humane society that cares for others in the world. 

UNHCR Office was opened in the Kyrgyz Republic in 1995, to support the government to deal with Tajik refugees. For two decades, the Office has enjoyed close collaboration with the Kyrgyz government, supporting the country to establish fair asylum institution and deal with waves of refugee influx from neighboring countries, as well as assisting the integration and reconciliation of people affected by violence in 2010. UNHCR has provided over $62 million dollars worth of assistance over the past 20 years to assist refugees, returnees, stateless and internally displaced people in the country.