Operation: Opération: Kyrgyzstan



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Key Figures

2020 year-end results
276 vulnerable refugees and asylum-seeker households received cash assistance
121 registered refugee children enrolled in primary education
15 events, workshops and seminars were organized both in online and offline format on refugee protection and statelessness
100% of refugees and asylum-seekers had access to free legal counselling and assistance, including representation in court
80% of legislations were consistent with internationally accepted norms on prevention of statelessness
2021 planning figures
300 legal counselling sessions or other legal services will be provided to asylum-seekers and refugees by UNHCR’s legal partner
200 individuals will benefit from cash assistance  
100 registered refuge children will be enrolled in primary education
29 events, workshops and seminars will be organized on refugee protection, statelessness and emergency preparedness  
100% of refugees and asylum-seekers will have access to free legal counselling and assistance, including representation in court
80% of legislation will be consistent with internationally accepted norms on prevention of statelessness 

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2020 695
2019 575
2018 991


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  • 2015
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021

Operational context

In addition to challenges posed by COVID-19, disputed results of parliamentary elections led to a change of national leadership during the last quarter of the year.

Several legislative revisions in 2020 reduced the asylum space and protection available to refugees. The socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 negatively also affected the situation of refugees and asylum-seekers leading to many relying on cash assistance from UNHCR.

UNHCR focused on supporting people of concern during COVID-19 and subsequent socioeconomic challenges, supporting the Government of Kyrgyzstan to improve its national asylum system and enhancing the prevention of statelessness. Political instability triggered a fast review of emergency preparedness and contingency planning for displacement scenarios.

Population trends

Kyrgyzstan hosted 337 refugees and 347 asylum-seekers, mostly from Afghanistan.

14 refugees acquired Kyrgyz citizenship, one mandate refugee obtained a residency permit, and 12 mandate refugees were registered by the State Migration Service for consideration of their asylum claims.

Key achievements

  • UNHCR supported the Government in the implementation of its pledges made at the High-Level Segment on Statelessness, including on universal birth registration, enactment of the Stateless Status Determination Procedure and accession to the two Statelessness Conventions. A new Law “On Civil Acts” was adopted, further aligning the birth registration framework in Kyrgyzstan with international standards.
  • To ensure continuation of state services to asylum-seekers and refugees, while balancing public health concerns, UNHCR supported the Government in procuring COVID-19 personal protective equipment.
  • In partnership with the United Nations Country Team and other key partners, UNHCR advocated with the Government for the inclusion of refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless persons in national COVID-19 response strategies and plans.
  • UNHCR and partners assessed the socioeconomic vulnerability of refugees and asylum-seekers and disbursed multipurpose cash assistance to address new COVID-19-related needs.
  • Despite mobility restrictions during the pandemic, UNHCR maintained protection monitoring, through dedicated 24/7 hotlines for protection from sexual abuse and exploitation and gender-based violence awareness-raising and mental health services to people of concern.
  • UNHCR advocated with the Government to find local solutions for mandate refugees, including through reconsideration of selected asylum claims by the State Migration Service.
  • With the aim to provide psychosocial and educational support to refugee and asylum-seeking children affected by COVID-19 restrictions, UNHCR and its partners organized a suite of tutoring sessions, online social and recreational activities.

Unmet needs

  • Lack of capacities to engage with the judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court.
  • Lack of capacities to enhance capacity-building of policy makers, national security and law enforcement officers on refugee protection and statelessness.

Use of flexible funding (unearmarked or softly earmarked funding)

UNHCR in Kyrgyz Republic received some USD 785,000 flexible funding in 2020. With this funding, UNHCR provided IT equipment to the Refugee Unit of State Migration Service to further strengthen the ability of SMS to deliver services to refugees and asylum-seekers in the pandemic. UNHCR also provided 33 information stands to State Border Service as part of ongoing cooperation to enhance referral mechanisms for asylum-seekers arriving at the borders of Kyrgyzstan.  

Working environment

One of the main regional developments affecting Kyrgyzstan is the developments in Uzbekistan and reforms consequent to the leadership change there. Since 2017, the two states have exchanged high-level delegations and have concluded several cooperation agreements on security, border-demarcation, trade and energy. Kyrgyzstan’s relations with Kazakhstan and Tajikistan have been improving too, including progress on the disputed borders and ethnic enclaves. In parallel, the Kyrgyz Republic continues harmonization of its regulations with the regional political, security and economic alliances. Considering improved relationships and increased trade among Central Asian countries, the security and political context in Kyrgyzstan is expected to remain largely stable throughout 2020.

Kyrgyzstan is in the transition from the Presidential to Parliamentarian system. As part of the transition and post presidential election, power dynamics and several ambitious reforms recently launched by the Government, there have been many new appointments and re-shuffling in the cabinet including ‘rationalization’ of the state agencies and services. With parliamentary elections in October 2020 on horizon, it is assumed that the competition between various political forces and their alliances may result in some political and social volatility.

As a result of the verification exercise conducted through household visits in 2018, the total number of the mandate refugees reduced to 154 people (55 families). After ongoing legal reform coupled with UNHCR’s advocacy efforts, UNHCR hopes to succeed in naturalization of some mandate refugees in mixed marriages with Kyrgyz nationals, to reduce the total number of mandate refugees to 129 people (35 families) by end of 2020.
The Kyrgyz Republic has made a considerable progress in reducing statelessness since 2014. In 2019 Kyrgyzstan has announced complete elimination of all known cases of statelessness in the country, almost 14,000 persons. Authorities will work on further improving the draft statelessness determination procedure and take advantage of the momentum and continue the practice of registration of births and documentation of all citizens.

Key priorities

UNHCR’s operation in Kyrgyzstan will evolve around three commitments under the Global Strategic Direction 2017-2021: Protect, Solve and implementation of the #IBelong campaign. More specifically and in line with the global and regional strategic priorities, UNHCR’s  interventions will be undertaken around three overarching goals:
  • support the Government to improve its national asylum system
  • find solutions and pathways towards solutions tailored to meet the individual circumstances of people of concern
  • enhance measures aiming at prevention of statelessness.
Latest contributions
  • 15-OCT-2021

    private donors

  • Germany
  • 14-OCT-2021
  • Qatar

    private donors

  • 12-OCT-2021

    private donors

  • Ireland
  • Italy

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  • 09-OCT-2021

    private donors

  • 08-OCT-2021
  • Japan

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  • 06-OCT-2021
    United States of America

    private donors

  • 05-OCT-2021

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  • Germany
  • 04-OCT-2021

    private donors

  • 01-OCT-2021

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  • Germany
  • 30-SEP-2021

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  • Switzerland

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