I am very worried about this development. After the Andijan massacre a large number of Uzbek activists, including several of my personal friends, fled to Ukraine, which is as close as Uzbeks can get to the West without a visa. It is further evidence of the collusion which the Karimov regime is able to obtain throughout the Former Soviet Union. It is also yet another count against the government of President Yevchenko, who have turned out to be as appalling as the lot they replaced, Orange revolution or no.
From Human Rights Watch
(New York, February 17, 2005) ‘ Ukraine has deported 10 asylum seekers to Uzbekistan, where they face torture and abuse, Human Rights Watch said today. These deportations violate international law.
On the night of February 14-15, a group of 10 Uzbek men was deported to Uzbekistan, apparently pursuant to an Uzbek extradition request. An eleventh detained man was not deported, apparently because he had relatives in Ukraine. Nine of the 11 Uzbeks had registered as asylum seekers with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kiev. Human Rights Watch learned prior to their deportation that the other two wanted to lodge asylum requests, but had not been able to do so. UNHCR issued a statement today deploring the forced return of the entire group.
‘Ukraine had a duty to protect these people and instead it sent them back to almost certain torture and abuse,’ said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. ‘Now the government needs to find out how it could have happened that asylum seekers registered with UNHCR were deported. And it must take steps to ensure that it never happens again.’