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UN calls for Kyrgyz referendum that includes displaced persons

06-25-2010 08:41 BJT Special Report: Unrest in Kyrgyzstan |

UNITED NATIONS, June 24 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations on Thursday urged the Kyrgyz authorities to do everything possible to ensure the holding of an inclusive referendum by facilitating the participation of displaced persons.

Speaking to reporters, UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said that the world body is providing technical advice to the Central Electoral Committee, including on the need to have an inclusive process and technically sound vote.

Nesirky said that the United Nations recognizes the importance of the referendum and that it is also keenly aware of the additional challenges in light of the recent violence in southern Kyrgyzstan and the displacement of large numbers of civilians.

He said that voting by displaced persons in Uzbekistan is not provided for.

Apart from the logistical challenge it would have entailed to organize this on short notice, it would also have required diplomatic agreements between the Kyrgyz authorities and the Uzbek government, he noted.

The spokesperson said that the United Nations has been encouraging the Kyrgyz authorities to do everything possible to be inclusive, especially by facilitating the participation of displaced persons.

"We understand this is being addressed to a certain extent by establishment of mobile polling stations and also through a decision to allow voters to vote at any polling station, not just the one where they were registered - allowing displaced persons to vote so long as their papers are in order," he said.

He added that the situation and environment for the referendum is fluid and the United Nations will continue to follow it closely.

Next weekend, a referendum is to be held in Kyrgyzstan that aims to approve a new constitution and replace Kyrgyzstan's presidential-type republic with a parliamentary system.

Meanwhile, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that the Kyrgyz Border Service has reported a further increase in returns of refugees from Uzbekistan, with more than 50,000 returning on Wednesday.

The location of more than 130,000 internally displaced persons - of whom 107,144 are in Osh Province and 22,871 in Jalal-Abad province - has been confirmed, OCHA said.

There are 15 locations where more than 100,000 people are without homes and now accommodated in schools, kindergartens or in the open. Others are living with host families. The overall estimated number of internally displaced persons in Kyrgyzstan remains at 300,000.

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: Xinhua

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