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UNHCR opened its representation in Kyrgyzstan in 1995

UNHCR opened its representation in Kyrgyzstan in 1995 to assist the country in protecting over 20,000 refugees from the civil war in Tajikistan. By now the Kyrgyz Republic has locally integrated half of these refugees by granting them citizenship, while another half voluntarily repatriated to Tajikistan.

In 1996, the Kyrgyz Republic acceded to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. The country developed a national law on refugees and created a state agency for the determination of refugee status.

UNHCR operational objectives in the Kyrgyz Republic

• Improve the quality of asylum in accordance with international standards
• Prevent refoulement
• Provide refugees with access to appropriate durable solutions
• Reduce and prevent statelessness
• Facilitate sustainable reintegration of internally displaced persons and returnees
• Maintain contingency plans and emergency preparedness

Recent operational activities and highlights

Internally displaced persons and returnees

• Communal violence, destruction and looting in southern Kyrgyzstan, led to the death of over 400 and the injury of over 2,000 persons, the destruction of close to 2,000 private homes, and the looting of many more during June 2010. 375,000 persons fled their homes, of which 75,000 fled to Uzbekistan and 300,000 within Kyrgyzstan.
• Although most refugees and internally displaced persons returned within a few weeks or months, the security, human rights/protection and economic situation in South Kyrgyzstan remains precarious.
• Following the delivery of life-saving emergency relief and a shelter project that provided all over 13,400 persons who had lost their homes with transitional shelter before the onset of winter, in 2011 UNHCR continues to implement important protection and assistance activities that strengthen equal access to rights and services, rule of law, as well as the restoration of and reconciliation between communities.
• 280,000 people in South Kyrgyzstan continue to require and receive UNHCR assistance.


• In order to develop compliance with Kyrgyzstan's obligations under international and national refugee law, UNHCR supports an urgent improvement in the quality and quantity of governmental refugee status recognition (recognition rates in governmental procedures dropped from 25% in 2005 to 0% in 2010).
• UNHCR supports the local integration, including access to Kyrgyz citizenship, for some 200, mainly Afghan, refugees who have been recognized by the government and have lived in Kyrgyzstan for many years.
• UNHCR also request local recognition and integration for another 240, mainly Afghan, refugees who were denied due access to procedures and protection by the previous government and thus had to be recognized and assisted as refugees under the UNHCR Mandate instead.
• Community-based projects provide age, gender and diversity sensitive food, accommodation, health and education assistance to the most vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees.


• Since 2008, authorities and civil society, working together in a UNHCR project, already identified and solved several ten thousand citizenship cases. Currently an estimated 21,000 persons are still stateless or threatened therewith.
• In September 2009 the government, with support of UNHCR, adopted a comprehensive National Action Plan to Prevent and Reduce Statelessness, which was reviewed and further strengthened in June 2011.
• Kyrgyzstan has expressed interest in acceding to the two UN Statelessness Conventions, almost all of whose standards are already enshrined in its 2007 Citizenship Law.

Working with partners

UNHCR works with the Government, civil society, donors and other UN agencies in providing protection and support to persons of concern.

Implementing Partners

Government - Ministry of Labour, Employment and Migration, Health Insurance Fund, State State Registration Service, Citizenship Commission under the President

NGOs - ACTED, Legal Clinic "Adilet", Centre for Support to International Protection, Counterpart-Sheriktesh, Crisis Centre "Sezim", Danish Refugee Council, Ferghana Valley Lawyers without Borders, Mercy Corps.

Operational Partners

Government - Directorate for Reconstruction and Rehabilitation, Border Guards Service, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Emergency Situations, Ombudsman, Police Academy, Prosecutor General, Supreme and other Courts

NGOs - Dusti, Sairon, National Red Crescent Society, Help Age Int, Safe the Children

Others - Asian Development Bank, European Commission, ICRC, IOM, JICA, OHCHR, OSCE, UNDP, UNICEF, WFP, World Bank.