The four-person team will gather information from eyewitnesses and others with first-hand knowledge of the events of 12 to 14 May to gain an overview into the circumstances of the incidents, which resulted in the death of between 173 people, according to the Uzbek authorities, and up to 800 people, according to other sources.
Some 500 Uzbeks also sought refuge in Kyrgyzstan following the events in Andijan. Following its arrival in Bishkek today, the OHCHR fact-finding team reported that the security situation of the over 400 Uzbek asylum-seekers still sheltered in a camp near the Kyrgyz city of Jalal Abad had deteriorated significantly following raids this afternoon by a group of men. The asylum-seekers were reportedly threatened with attack unless returned to Uzbekistan within three days.
High Commissioner Louise Arbour said the asylum-seekers are in need of immediate protection and of guarantees that they will not be sent back prior to a full determination of their refugee status in line with international law, as recalled by UNHCR most recently on 10 June.
The fact-finding team will report its finding and recommendations, including on the need for further investigation, to the High Commissioner shortly after returning to Geneva later this month. Mrs. Arbour called on 18 May for an independent inquiry into the causes and circumstances of the incidents in Andijan.