|Kyrgyz President, UNHCR Discuss Mixed Migration, Emergency Preparedness, Statelessness and Refugees|
28 January 2013, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan -Mr. Almazbek Atambayev, President of Kyrgyzstan received Mr. Saber Azam, Regional Representative/Regional Coordinator for Central Asia of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) who was accompanied by Mr. Johann Siffointe, UNHCR Representative in Kyrgyzstan, in the Government house for an official meeting.
The meeting was conducted in an exceptionally cordial manner, which facilitated open and mutually beneficial dialogue on the priority issues such as preserving asylum space within migratory flows, emergency preparedness, preventing and reducing statelessness and refugee protection.
In particular, Mr. Azam praised President Atambayev's personal efforts to further Kyrgyzstan's measures on peace and confidence building among the multi-ethnic population of the country, which brought notable results in a short period of time. He particularly commended on country's initiative jointly with the UN Secretary General, to become one of the three pilot countries in the area of durable solutions for the return of refugees and IDPs. Mr. Azam assured President Atambayev that UNHCR will stand ready to support the government's initiatives in this area.
In the flow of an engaged exchange of views, Mr. Azam and President Atambayev found common grounds for further cooperation in the areas of regulating mixed migration, emergency preparedness, and refugee protection in the region and in Kyrgyzstan. In particular, Mr. Azam received assurances that Kyrgyzstan will provide full support and involvement in the Almaty Process and will ensure participation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the upcoming Regional Meeting on Mixed Migration in the beginning of June.
President Atambayev responded positively to the request of the Regional Representative/ Regional Coordinator for Central Asia to ensure participation of the Minister for Emergencies in the study visit to Turkey, a country which possesses valuable experience in decision making regarding response to both natural and man-made disasters. The field trip would take place in May 2013, subject to the situation in Kyrgyzstan during spring season.
Mr. Saber Azam stressed that Kyrgyzstan could advance significantly in reducing and preventing statelessness by acceding to the 1961 and the 1954 conventions relating to statelessness. He emphasized that acceding to the treaties would underscore the country's commitment to human rights and improve its social and economic development. "By acceding to the statelessness Conventions, Kyrgyzstan would demonstrate its commitment to full respect for human rights and its readiness to reduce and eliminate statelessness in the country," Mr. Azam underlined.
Mr. Azam thanked the President for the great support and assistance traditionally provided by the Government of Kyrgyzstan to refugees and appealed for recognition of mandate Afghan refugees, who found themselves in a limbo due to absence of state recognition. President Atambayev commissioned the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to follow up on the issue with the responsible bodies.
President Atambayev thanked Mr. Azam for UNHCR's unreserved support to the country, especially in the areas of emergency preparedness and response, reduction of statelessness and helping to find a balance between national security and managing borders on the one hand, and refugee protection on the other.
Regional Representative/Regional Coordinator Mr. Azam and President Mr. Atambayev expressed their willingness and readiness for future fruitful cooperation.
*** Photo is provided by Sultan Dosaliev, presidential photographer