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01.03.2006

The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) takes responsibility for the recent deportation of refugees

   

The Press Officer of the SSU, Marina Ostapenko, alleged on Channel 5 that “Ukraine was forced to deport 10 Uzbeks to their own county because they belonged to an organization which the UN has declared terrorist – the “Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan”.

She went on to say: “These citizens of Uzbekistan belonged to an organization which, according to a resolution of the UN Security Council, has been declared terrorist”.

"While in Ukraine between May and August last year, these citizens of Uzbekistan espoused the radical ideas of this organization among Ukrainian citizens”, Ostapenko added.

However, the deputy Head of the Association of Uzbek political refugees in Ukraine, Khatam Khadzhimatov, asserts that those deported were not involved in politics, but had simply witnessed the events in Andijon which made them unpopular with those in power in Uzbekistan.

The Background:

On 14 February Ukraine deported 10 citizens of Uzbekistan to their own country which is controlled by an authoritarian regime which systematically persecutes those who oppose this regime.

Last year, the government of Uzbekistan shot dead more than 500 civilians in the city of Andijon.

According to information from the Department of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), nine of those deported had previously registered applications for political asylum with the appropriate bodies in Ukraine, and the two others detained[1] had also spoken of intending to apply for asylum.

The American State Department has condemned the Ukrainian authorities for the forced extradition of the 10 Uzbek refugees.  On Tuesday at a briefing in Washington, spokesperson of the US State Department, Adam Erely, stressed that such a step had been taken in contravention of current Ukrainian legislation.

He added: “The Ukrainian authorities also ignored the request of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to not repatriate any asylum seekers before they had gone through the necessary procedure for political asylum applications”.



[1]  It is known that 11 people were detained, however the fate of the eleventh person remains unknown despite repeated efforts to find out by human rights organizations and agencies.  (translator’s note)

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