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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09BISHKEK940 2009-08-24 07:53:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Bishkek
Cable title:  

UNHCR KYRGYZSTAN REVEALS DETAILS OF UZBEK REFUGEE

Tags:   PHUM PGOV PREL KG 
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VZCZCXRO9393
OO RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHLH RUEHNEH RUEHPW
DE RUEHEK #0940/01 2360753
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 240753Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY BISHKEK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2597
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 3223
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1520
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 3573
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2959
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO BRUSSELS BE
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BISHKEK 000940 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR SCA/CEN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/24/2019
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL KG
SUBJECT: UNHCR KYRGYZSTAN REVEALS DETAILS OF UZBEK REFUGEE
DISAPPEARANCE

BISHKEK 00000940 001.2 OF 003


Classified By: Ambassador Tatiana C. Gfoeller for Reasons 1.4 (b) and (
d).



1. (SBU) Summary: On August 19, Poloff met with Anya Nee, the
national protection officer at the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to discuss the recent case
of an Uzbek refugee who disappeared near his temporary home
in Bishkek, only to reappear one week later in Osh. Nee also
addressed the ongoing dispute between the UNHCR and the
Kyrgyz government over the registration of refugees from
certain countries. In addition, Nee shared new information
about a developing problem with stateless women in southern
Kyrgyzstan. End Summary.

THE CASE OF SANJAR KHUDAIBERGANOV


--------------------------





2. (C) Nee informed Poloff that Sanjar Khudaiberganov, the
Uzbek refugee who disappeared on July 30 and reappeared on
August 6, was currently holed up in his Bishkek apartment
waiting for the UNHCR to complete his resettlement process.
Khudaiberganov, an Uzbek citizen and former captain in the
Uzbek Ministry of Interior (MVD), is the older brother of
Iskander Khudaiberganov. According to Nee and local media
reports, Uzbek authorities arrested Iskander in November 2002
and sentenced him to death for terrorism, Islamic extremism,
and conspiracy to overthrow the constitutional order.



3. (C) Iskander's family maintained his innocence, claiming
that he was not an extremist but merely a devout Muslim.
(Note: The fact that Iskander was a human rights activist and
chairman of the Democratic Initiatives Center may have been
more provocative to the Uzbek government than his religious
devotions. Moreover, at the invitation of the International
League for Human Rights, Iskander traveled to the U.S. in
March 2001 to attend the 71st Session of the United Nations
Human Rights Committee. During this visit, he met with the
Department of State's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and
Labor at State, the Helsinki Commission, National Endowment
for Democracy, and other non-governmental organizations. End
Note.)



4. (C) Khudaiberganov told Nee that his sister led the charge
to advocate for Iskander's release, joining the group
Mother's Against Torture and attracting international media
attention. She eventually forced the government to reduce
the sentence to life imprisonment but his family endured
significant pressure from the Uzbek authorities. Nee said
that Sanjar's sister, together with most of his family, fled
to Kyrgyzstan last year and have since been resettled in
Sweden by the UNHCR. Khudaiberganov and his 11-year old son
fled Uzbekistan weeks after the rest of his family. The
UNHCR intended to send the entire Khudaiberganov family
together but, because of his background as a low-level
officer with the Uzbek MVD, the extensive analysis conducted
by the UNHCR delayed the vetting process for Sanjar.



5. (C) Nee interviewed Khudaiberganov after his disappearance
and relayed the details to Poloff. Khudaiberganov said that
he was awaiting resettlement procedures by the UNHCR when, on
July 30, "unknown Uzbek speakers" abducted him and his son,
Sarvarbek, outside his Bishkek apartment, transported him to
southern Kyrgyzstan and across an unknown Uzbek border, and
interrogated him for several days about his brother,
Iskander. The abductors allegedly released Khudaiberganov's
son to his in-laws during the interrogation process.
Khudaiberganov told Nee that the questioning made him think
that Iskander had escaped and the Uzbek authorities were
trying to find him. After several days of interrogation, the
unidentified Uzbek men allowed Khudaiberganov to return to
Kyrgyzstan, but only after he agreed to help them find his
brother.


BISHKEK 00000940 002.2 OF 003




6. (C) The UNHCR ascertained Khudaiberganov to be
psychologically traumatized and provided him with counseling
and other social assistance. Khudaiberganov reported that,
in recent years, he had been pressured by other Uzbek MVD
officers, interrogated about his family's human rights
activities, and eventually fired from his job. Nee said that
the previous stresses, coupled with the recent abduction, had
"seriously traumatized" the refugee. According to Nee, the
UNHCR planned to resettle Khudaiberganov and his son in
Sweden, reuniting them with the rest of their family. Nee
also reported that the Kyrgyz are still deliberating whether
or not to open an investigation into the abduction.

PROBLEMS WITH REFUGEE REGISTRATION


--------------------------





7. (SBU) Nee reported that the Kyrgyz government's refusal to
register newly arriving refugees from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan
and Syria, a problem since June 2008, was ongoing. Upon
arrival to Kyrgyzstan, the UNHCR registers refugees from
Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria and provides them with
proper identification cards and other documentation.
However, the Kyrgyz government changed its policies for
refugees from these countries and refuses to register them
with the State Committee for Migration and Employment.
According to Nee, approximately 400 refugees held UNHCR
registration but lacked Kyrgyz government documentation. For
the moment, Nee said, the Kyrgyz MVD recognized the UNHCR
documents, which allowed for some protection from police
harassment during random identification checks on the streets
of Bishkek.



8. (C) The Kyrgyz government also refused to register Uzbek
citizens (with the exception of Uzbeks joining family members
already resettled). Nee claimed that the Kyrgyz government's
decision to end an agreement with the UNHCR regarding Uzbek
refugees, which granted legal status and protections, would
leave them vulnerable to repatriation back to Uzbekistan.
The Kyrgyz government informed the UNHCR that its change in
stance on incoming refugees, many of which arrived by
crossing the borders illegally, would aid in the fight
against illegal migration.

NEW GROUP OF STATELESS PERSONS DISCOVERED


--------------------------





9. (SBU) Nee told Poloff that a UNHCR-commissioned survey on
statelessness in southern Kyrgyzstan revealed a serious issue
of statelessness among Uzbek women who married Kyrgyz men in
the last 10-15 years. Over the years, these women's Uzbek
passports have expired. In addition, the Kyrgyz and Uzbek
governments do not have a bilateral agreement for expedited
change in citizenship, which prevents the Kyrgyz government
from allowing the Uzbek women to become citizens of
Kyrgyzstan. This predicament leaves the Uzbek women without
any official documents from either country. Nee said that
the Uzbek women lacked the proper identification to legally
cross into Uzbekistan and were unable to attain the
appropriate registration, legal address, or other documents
required for a new Uzbek passport.



10. (C) Nee claimed that Kyrgyzstan wanted to avoid any
dispute with Uzbekistan and, therefore, dismissed the need
for resolving the Uzbek women's statelessness. Kyrgyz
officials told Nee that they were "protecting the bilateral
relationship and preserving regional stability" by ignoring
the problem of statelessness among Uzbek wives to Kyrgyz men.
This stance, Nee asserted, prevents these women from working
in legitimate jobs, receiving social benefits, or accessing
medical care at the government rate. Nee estimated that
several thousand women in southern Kyrgyzstan lacked official
documentation


BISHKEK 00000940 003.2 OF 003



COMMENT


--------------------------





11. (C) The UNHCR did not release the details of the
Khudaiberganov case because there are still a number of
unanswered questions about the abduction and his subsequent
return. With or without answers to their questions, the
UNHCR decided to advance the resettlement process and hopes
to relocate Khudaiberganov and his son as soon as possible.
Although Nee gave the impression that there were significant
holes in Khudaiberganov's story, she continued to affirm that
he was a legitimate case for asylum and should be resettled
immediately.
GFOELLER