Interethnic Reconciliation is the Key to Bringing Stability to Kyrgyzstan | Freedom House

Interethnic Reconciliation is the Key to Bringing Stability to Kyrgyzstan

Washington

A year after the tragic events in Kyrgyzstan, which claimed the lives of over 400 ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in the south of the country, Freedom House recognizes the important step by the Kyrgyzstani government to acknowledge the tragedy and calls on the country’s leaders to increase efforts to improve the relations between various ethnic groups.

Between June 10 and 14, 2010, riots broke out in the southern cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad leading to clashes between the ethnic Kyrgyz majority and Uzbek minority groups and resulting in over 400 deaths and thousands of Uzbek refugees, who fled to neighboring Uzbekistan. The international community, along with Kyrgyzstani civil society organizations and NGOs, continue to advocate for a fair and open investigation of the crisis in an effort to bring justice for victims of last year’s violence. Freedom House supports the findings of the international commission and the report’s author, Kimmo Kiljunen; implementation of the recommendations will be critical to Kyrgyzstan’s democratic progress.   The recent ban of Kimmo Kiljunen, chairman of the Kyrgyzstan Inquiry Commission, from the country by ninety-five Kyrgyzstani parliamentarians highlights the urgency and importance of establishing reconciliation and tolerance between various ethnic groups—including the Kyrgyz majority and Uzbek minority.

“We see it as a step backward that ninety-five Kyrgyzstani parliamentarians’ took a decision to bar Kimmo Kiljunen, chairman of the Kyrgyzstan Inquiry Commission from the country,” said Susan Corke, senior program manager for Eurasia at Freedom House. “This detracts from efforts to build interethnic reconciliation and tolerance between the Kyrgyz majority and Uzbek minority at all levels.”

Freedom House urges the Government of Kyrgyzstan not to implement the decision, which could undermine the democratic reforms that the country undertook at the end of 2010.  We hope that the Government of Kyrgyzstan will address the disproportionate suffering by Uzbeks and will take measures to address incidents of human rights violations, including accounts of sexual violence, torture, arbitrary arrests, unfair trials and other ill-treatment.

“Political will and determination to resolve the fundamental reasons of the conflict are crucial to help the Kyrgyzstani people reach peace and stability and promote greater respect and tolerance for minority groups in the country,” said David J. Kramer, executive director at Freedom House.

Kyrgyzstan is at an important point in its trajectory – the parliamentary elections were seen as democratic progress, which we applaud. This sad anniversary is a reminder of the importance of building societal tolerance and continuing to advance on a democratic path.

Kyrgyzstan is ranked Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2011, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2011.  Kyrgyzstan became the first parliamentary republic in Central Asia in October 2010.

For more information on Kyrgyzstan, visit:

Freedom in the World 2011: Kyrgyzstan
Nations in Transit 2010: Kyrgyzstan

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