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UN committee condemns Kazakhstan expulsion of asylum-seekers

The UN Committee Against Torture [official website] has ruled that Kazakhstan's extradition of 29 Uzbek refugees was a violation of international human rights agreements, including the Convention Against Torture [text]. The committee stated in a ruling that the extradited Uzbekistan nationals faced risk of torture [AP report] in their home country. The committee recommended that the government seek the return of the asylum-seekers and provide them compensation for their suffering. Last year, five rights groups sent a joint letter [text, PDF; press release, PDF] to the prosecutor general of Kazakhstan, urging the government not to extradite the 29 men. The rights group Action by Christians Against Torture [advocacy website] led the complaint with the UN committee after the government of Kazakhstan moved forward with the extraditions.

Laws and policies governing the treatment of asylum-seeking migrants continue to raise international human rights concerns. Amnesty International (AI) said Tuesday that the Cyprus government's practice of detaining all illegal migrants seeking asylum in the country violates international law [JURIST report]. In January, the Israeli Knesset passed a bill that imposes harsher penalties on illegal migrants [JURIST report] in Israel. AI criticized the bill as a violation of human rights. Last March, AI released a report documenting discrimination and human rights violations against Roma migrants [JURIST report] in Slovenia and urging the Slovenian government to protect Roma communities. In September 2010, the Global Migration Group (GMG) adopted a statement urging all governments to respect the human rights of migrants [JURIST report], who are more likely to face various forms of abuse as they lack proper legal status. The GMG stressed that every person, regardless of migration status, should enjoy fundamental human rights.

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