Last Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2017, 13:52 GMT

U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Kazakhstan

Publisher United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Publication Date 25 May 2004
Cite as United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 2004 - Kazakhstan , 25 May 2004, available at: [accessed 15 December 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 some 15,300 refugees and asylum seekers at the end of 2003, mostly Chechens (13,700) and Tajiks (1,500).

In 2003, the Kazakh authorities granted refugee status to 16 persons, all Afghans and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) granted status to 8 all from China, with 3 cases pending at the end of the year.

During the year, 15 Afghans and 52 Tajik refugees voluntarily returned to their countries.

Developments in 2003

The government generally did not allow refuges without passports or those who entered illegally to register as refugees. Officials considered all citizens of former Soviet Republics as immigrants, not asylum seekers, and generally only allowed Afghans to register as refugees. The government continued to refuse to allow Uighurs from China to claim asylum but did not forcibly return any Uighurs to China during the year.

Chechen Refugees

Kazakhstan allowed UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)-recognized Chechen refugees to remain. Following the hostage crisis in the Moscow theater in October 2002 when Chechen rebels held patrons hostage, the Kazakh government stopped issuing temporary residence permits to Chechens. By March, courts had ordered some 300 Chechens to be deported and many Chechens left for other countries. Although the government established new registration procedures in March for Chechens, officials often denied them registration, preventing them from working or attending school. Radio Free Europe reported that a UNHCR protection officer had stated in some parts of the country that officials were trying to force Chechens to leave.

Ethnic Kazakh Returnees

Ethnic Kazaks, known as Oralmans, who had been deported by Stalin continued to return to Kazakstan where the government struggled to fund integration programs. The government sets quotas for the Oralmans to return, but more than the official number allowed return every year. In 2003, the government set the quota at 5,000 families, but announced it would increase it to 10,000 for 2004. Those who returned outside the quota system had difficulty registering and their unofficial status limited their access to housing, education, and health services.

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