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Uzbekistan: Update on ICRC activities following the violence in Andijan

17-05-2005 News Release 05/34

On 14 May a team from the ICRC's regional delegation in Tashkent reached Andijan, the scene of recent violence, while a team from the organization’s office in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, arrived at Jalalabad, near the border with Uzbekistan.

Since then, ICRC delegates have also been to both the Uzbek and Kyrgyz sides of the border town of Kara-Su.

When ICRC staff reached Andijan hospital on 14 May, the local medical authorities informed them that they could cope with the influx of patients and did not need medical assistance at that time.

The next day, the situation in Andijan was still quite tense. Families could be seen making arrangements for burying those killed in the violence.

According to Rolin Wavre, head of the ICRC’s regional delegation in Tashkent, “we are worried by the reports of civilian casualties in Andijan, but in the current circumstances it is extremely difficult to get a clear idea of how many people were killed or wounded, or to get a full picture of what happened. Even though the authorities have so far not asked for our help, the local people we spoke to seemed relieved to see that a humanitarian organization had arrived on the scene.”

On 15 May the ICRC visited a camp near Jalalabad, on the Kyrgyz side of the border with Uzbekistan, which had been set up and supplied by the local authorities and was housing over 500 refugees from Uzbekistan. ICRC staff returned to the area the next day to assist the local hospital, which was treating some 15 refugees wounded in the recent violence.

On 16 May the ICRC team in Kara-Su reported a steady but orderly flow of people crossing the border in both directions. Delegates who reached the Uzbek side of the town spoke to the hokim (mayor) and other local people. There were no signs of further disturbances and the civilian population seemed relie ved that commercial activities were resuming.

The ICRC will soon take steps to ensure that civilians searching for their relatives receive the information they need from the authorities and other sources.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Vincent Lusser, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++ 41 22 730 24 26/++ 41 79 217 32 64  

 Pierre-Emmanuel Ducruet, ICRC Tashkent, tel. ++998 71 120 52 90/91/92