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Kyrgystan Crisis

  • June 22nd, 2010
  • Posted by EUEditor

kyrgyz-revolt.jpgInter-ethnic conflict and widespread break-down of law and order in the Central Asian state of Kyrgystan have so far caused several deaths with as many as 250000 people sheltering in refugee camps or leaving the country.

A report from the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (16.6.10) said further violence could not be discounted and urgent intervention by the international community was needed.

RECENT DISTURBANCES

kyrgyzstan-flag.pngKyrgystan with just over five million people, bordering three other former Soviet Republics, and China, saw a turbulent change of government in April.

kyrgyzstan-map.pngThe President, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, opposed over steep inflation and corruption in his government, fled the country in the face of angry demonstrations in the capital, Bishkek (picture); and an interim government was installed.

bischkek.jpgOn 10.6.10 fresh trouble broke out in the country’s second city, Osh, in the South, and later in Jalalabad.

Protagonists in the fighting are members of the majority Kyrgyz community (making up nearly 70% of the population), and ethnic Uzbeks (appx. 15%).

DEATH TOLL HAS MOUNTED

kyrgyz-camp.jpgMost estimates of the number of people killed mention a figure of at least 200; some have started to talk about towards 2000; and the thousands displaced are mostly in camps set up by aid organisations, or crossing into Uzbekistan.

The Russian government rejected early appeals for direct help by the interim government, but has set up secure areas for members of the ethnic Russian population in  Kyrgystan, and it has deplored the activities of “marauders” now profiting from the weak state of  the central authority.

The European Union has joined an international mobilisation to deliver humanitarian relief.

INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP

The International Crisis Group, which works for the prevention of deadly conflict, made a declaration on the situation late last week, reproduced in part, below.

crisis-group-tag.jpgInternational Crisis Group statement: Kyrgyz Provisional Government Must Intensify Stabilisation Efforts in South

Suggestions by Kyrgyzstan’s Provisional Government yesterday that the situations in Osh and Jalalabad are stabilising, that foreign intervention is thus not needed, and that a referendum scheduled for 27 June can go ahead, are dangerously premature.

The situation in southern Kyrgyzstan remains unpredictable and volatile.

The Provisional Government’s handling of the situation has been less than assured, and it has itself admitted that its security forces lost control, and in some cases disobeyed orders.

Crisis Group urges the government to focus its full attention on security concerns and achieving a long-term solution to the many social and humanitarian issues thrown up by the last four days of death and destruction.

In particular it needs as a matter of the highest priority to create a well protected humanitarian corridor for aid deliveries.

Many hundreds have died since the night of 10 June. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced, and are now living in makeshift conditions in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Local officials in the south have told Crisis Group they fear they cannot guarantee the security of refugees encamped along the Kyrgyz side of the border with Uzbekistan.

Human rights workers speak of Uzbek communities in the worse-affected cities too traumatised to accept medical aid from Kyrgyz health workers.

Even the preliminary figures for destruction in Osh describe hundreds of buildings and homes destroyed.

All this, moreover, has taken place against a back-drop of massive unemployment and poverty, in one of the most densely populated parts of Central Asia.

FURTHER VIOLENCE

A further upsurge of violence cannot be excluded; neither can a spread of the unrest to other parts of the south.

A large number of weapons are almost certainly missing as the result of raids on police, military posts and arsenals.

Anger is still high; atrocity stories are rife on both sides.

There seem to be few males among refugees who have made their way to the border.

The Provisional Government should request the assistance of the international community – through the United Nations Security Council – to ensure the protection of its population from further violence …

Reference

International Crisis Group, Bishkek /Brussels /Washington; “Kyrgyz Provisional Government Must Intensify Stabilisation Efforts in South”, 16.6.10. http://www.crisisgroup.org, (22.6.10).

Pictures  ICG, Wikipedia,lansa.org

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