28 November 2008 The United Nations refugee agency is supporting school and sanitation projects in rural areas of northern Kyrgyzstan that have served as home to former refugees from neighbouring Tajikistan.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported today that it has recently expanded a pre-school and opened a public bathhouse in the district of Ivanovka, which is located in Chui province.
The projects are part of UNHCR’s support to the local community, which has taken in the former Tajik refugees – despite limited resources – and is also home to ethnic Kyrgyz returnees and local villagers.
UNHCR representative Hans Schodder said about $100,000 was spent by the agency on the projects as part of a wider effort to support the greater integration of refugees in the poor Central Asian country.
More than 20,000 Tajiks fled to Kyrgyzstan after civil war erupted in their homeland in the early 1990s. Most eventually returned home, but about 9,500 have been successfully naturalized by the Kyrgyz Government.
Ivanovka is also home to Kayrlyrmans, ethnic Kyrgyz who returned to the region after the country declared independence in 1991, as well as numerous stateless people following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
UNHCR estimates that Kyrgyzstan is also host to at least 1,000 asylum-seekers and refugees, mainly from Afghanistan.
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