Last Updated: Monday, 23 October 2017, 15:25 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 1999 - Kazakhstan

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 1 January 1999
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 1999 - Kazakhstan , 1 January 1999, available at: [accessed 24 October 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Kazakhstan hosted about 4,100 refugees and asylum seekers, including 2,100 Afghans, 1,100 Tajiks, 500 Chechnyans from the Russian Federation, and some 400 persons from other countries.

In responding to refugees and migrants, the Kazakh government distinguished between citizens of former Soviet republics and others. The Ministry of Interior (MOI) registers former Soviet citizens, while the refugee section of the Agency for Migration and Demography (AMD) registers all others.

UNHCR assisted 800 citizens of the former Soviet Union (450 Tajiks and 350 Chechnyans) who were registered as foreigners with the MOI. UNHCR considered these people "of concern."

More than 1,000 Afghans registered as asylum seekers with the AMD, which introduced a refugee determination and appeal process in 1998. According to UNHCR, the AMD adjudicated the asylum claims of 547 of the 1,010 Afghans asylum applicants during the year. It granted refugee status to 433 and rejected 116; 32 other applicants' claims were resolved through other means.

Eight of the rejected asylum seekers appealed their decisions. The AMD granted one applicant refugee status upon appeal and rejected the seven others. At year's end, 429 asylum seekers were awaiting decisions on their applications.

UNHCR offered emergency support to vulnerable Afghan refugees and asylum seekers, and Tajiks and Chechnyans of concern, through the Kazakh Red Cross and Red Crescent Society. Kazakhstan Refugee Legal Support (KRELS), a local NGO, provided asylum seekers free legal aid. According to UNHCR, the government granted both it and KRELS a consultative role in the refugee status determination procedure.


Like other former Soviet republics, Kazakhstan continued to experience major population shifts. Although not considered refugee movements, many of these migrations result from people of different ethnicities no longer being welcome in the countries where they were living. Since 1991, more than 200,000 ethnic Kazakhs have migrated to Kazakhstan from other former Soviet republics. The Kazakh government encouraged such returns to bolster the size of the ethnic Kazakh population. Although nearly 1 million ethnic Russians (and 700,000 ethnic Germans) have left Kazakhstan since independence, ethnic Russians remain the country's largest population group.

(In January 1999, Kazakhstan acceded to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol.)

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