Kyrgyzstan celebrates World Refugee Day


Kabar: Refugees, representatives of the Government, civil society, the media, and diplomatic corps gathered to commemorate the strength and resilience of more than 60 million people around the world forced to flee their homes due to war or human rights abuses.

Young refugees performed a play about a young Afghan girl who recounted how she saw her own country before and after the war, and how she transitioned into something unknown in the Kyrgyz Republic. The play was followed by a traditional dance, and tour of stalls, showcasing culture and cuisine from the countries of origin of refugees.

In a video address, Mr. Volker Turk, Assistant High Commissioner, thanked the Kyrgyz Government and people for generously hosting refugees. "On the World Refugee Day, I would like to send this special message of thank you, to the people and the government of Kyrgyzstan for taking good care of refugees, and call on the Kyrgyz people to reach out to those remarkable refugee individuals and help them become part of your community," said Assistant High Commissioner Turk.

Mr. Chingiz Sarybaev, Head of the Department to work with Refugees, State Migration Service, noted that the Kyrgyz Republic has been fulfilling its obligations since the 1990s by granting receiving over 20,000 refugees. Mr. Sarybaev thanked UNHCR for helping build effective national asylum system and for the important work of helping refugees in Kyrgyzstan and the whole world.

Thanks to the efforts of the government and local communities in integrating many refugees and support by UNHCR in voluntary repatriation of refugees, the number of asylum seekers and refugees in Kyrgyzstan has shrunk from over 20,000 two decades ago to less than 400 currently.

“We continue working with the Kyrgyz Government to find long-term solutions for the remaining 100 families of refugees that are residing in the country,” said Ms. Maki Shinohara, UNHCR Representative. "We are also working with development partners who can help individual refugees have a future and become a productive member of the Kyrgyz society.”

This is year marks the 20th Anniversary of the Kyrgyz Republic's accession to the 1951 International Convention on Refugees and its Protocol. In mid-1990s the Kyrgyz Republic hosted about 20,000 refugees, fleeing the war in Tajikistan, many of whom were integrated into the local community. With UNHCR support, the government has been developing refugee protection institutions, including establishing a national refugee law and implementing refugee determination and protection procedures.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees leads and co-ordinates humanitarian action to protect refugees, asylum-seekers, and stateless people in Kyrgyzstan. UNHCR provides assistance to the state authorities in establishing fair and efficient asylum systems, preventing and reducing statelessness.