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Kazakhstan ready to accept refugees from Middle East

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Kazakhstan is ready to accept refugees from Middle Eastern countries, Tengrinews reports citing the country’s Deputy Minister of Health and Social Development Birzhan Nurymbetov as saying on the sidelines of the meeting of Almaty senior officials responsible for refugee protection and international migration in Kazakhstan.

“Concerning refugees, in 2011 Kazakhstan has adopted a law on refugees, which defined the status of refugees and asylum seekers. The UN Refugee Agency has been constantly working in Kazakhstan. In case of the mass influx (of refugees), which is also addressed by the legislation, Kazakhstan will respond in accordance with the legislation. Therefore, if necessary, Kazakhstan will accept a certain number of refugees in compliance with the international law. We will take relevant measures to accommodate them,” Birzhan Nurymbetov said.

“I do not think that there is likely that many refugees will be seeking help in Kazakhstan,” he added saying that all the issues related to refugees are handled by the country’s Interior Ministry.

Bernard Doyle, the regional representative of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for Central Asia, also believes that refugees will not be arriving in Central Asia. "That refugee crisis that we have been witnessing in Middle East and Europe is a very serious one. I do not see any threat or possibility of refugees coming to Central Asia. Still, the Central Asian countries may play a great role in providing assistance in this situation. Because Central Asia is a home for a small percentage of refugees (...) they can serve as an example for countries that have been accommodating a big inflow of refugees," he said.

The refugee crisis has hit European countries worst, with all of them now struggling to handle the massive influx of refugees from Middle Eastern countries, mostly from Syria, and at the same time dealing with the increasing anti-immigrant sentiment among the Europeans. 

The crisis was mostly driven by Syria, where over 4 million people, a fifth of the country's population, were forced to flee the country over the four years of civil war that has torn the country apart and seek help in neighboring countries, which now find it extremely difficult to accommodate the refugees. 

Reporting by Assel Satayeva, writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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