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Kyrgyz Republic

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

d. Freedom of Movement, Internally Displaced Persons, Protection of Refugees, and Stateless Persons

The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights. The law on internal migration provides for freedom of movement. The government generally respected this right, and citizens generally were able to move within the country with relative ease. Certain policies restricted internal migration, resettlement, and travel abroad. The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other organizations to provide some protection and assistance to refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and other persons of concern.

On August 4, President Atambaev signed an amendment to the law on combating terrorism and extremism that revokes Kyrgyz citizenship of anyone convicted of terrorist and extremist activities.

Foreign Travel: The law on migration prohibits travel abroad by citizens who have or had access to information classified as state secrets until the information is declassified.

INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS

UNHCR reported there were no internally displaced persons in the country as of September.

PROTECTION OF REFUGEES

As of September UNHCR reported there were 339 refugees in the country. Among mandate and charter refugees, there were 237 from Afghanistan, 60 from Syria, 24 from Uzbekistan, 13 from Ukraine, and five from other countries. There were continued reports of Uzbek refugees seeking refugee status due to fear of abuse by the Uzbek government. In 2015 several of these individuals received status with the state migration authorities, allowing them to remain in the country legally.

Access to Asylum: The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. The law on refugees includes nondiscrimination provisions covering persons who were not refugees when they left their country of origin and extends the validity of documents until a final decision on status is determined by a court.

As of late 2015, there were 208 asylum seekers registered with UNHCR in the country. The Ministry of Labor, Migration, and Youth registered 166 asylum seekers, including 84 from Afghanistan, 44 from Uzbekistan, 17 from Ukraine, 12 from Syria, four from Turkmenistan, and smaller numbers from Iran, Pakistan, and Egypt. The other 42 persons were seeking registration from the government at year’s end.

Employment: UN-mandated refugees who lacked official status in the country do not have legal permission to work. They were therefore subject to exploitation by employers paying substandard wages, not providing benefits, and not complying with labor regulations. They could not file grievances with authorities. Refugees with official status in the country have legal permission to work.

Access to Basic Services: UN-mandated refugees and asylum seekers who lacked official status were ineligible to receive state-sponsored social benefits. Refugees with official status in the country have access to basic services.

STATELESS PERSONS

UNHCR officials stated the country’s stateless persons fell into several categories. As of October 2015, there were an estimated 5,700 Uzbek women who married Kyrgyz citizens but never received Kyrgyz citizenship (many such women allowed their Uzbek passports to expire, and regulations obstructed their efforts to gain Kyrgyz citizenship). Other categories included Roma, individuals with expired Soviet documents, children born to one or both parents who were stateless, and children of migrant workers who renounced their Kyrgyz citizenship in the hope of becoming Russian citizens. The government denied access to social benefits and official work documents to stateless persons, who lacked sufficient legal standing to challenge exploitative labor conditions in court. As of August 1, UNHCR estimated 11,766 stateless persons were living in the country without documents, compared with 10,286 in 2015. The State Registration Service maintained its database of stateless persons based only on those who contacted it.

Of stateless persons registered by UNHCR, 109 were de jure stateless, 1,600 were de facto stateless, 122 were at risk of statelessness, and 623 were persons with undetermined nationality. The latter category is defined by UNHCR as persons who do not have a clearly defined citizenship, comprising mostly Soviet passport holders without birth certificates.

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