Reconciliation and integration still needed in Kyrgyzstan, says OSCE High Commissioner Thors

THE HAGUE, 12 June 2015 – The authorities of Kyrgyzstan must address the root causes of inter-ethnic tensions in the country, said OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Astrid Thors today on the fifth anniversary since her predecessor Knut Vollebaek issued an Early Warning to the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in relation to the inter-ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan.

“Five years after the violence, I urge the authorities to implement robust, consistent and comprehensive policies aimed at reconciliation and promoting the integration of society. It is essential to ensure equal opportunities for all communities in multi-ethnic Kyrgyzstan,” she said.

From 10 to 14 June 2010, southern Kyrgyzstan was plunged into inter-ethnic violence, which claimed more than 400 lives, temporarily displaced tens of thousands of people and destroyed thousands of households. On 12 June 2010, High Commissioner Vollebaek issued an Early Warning to the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, urging the participating States to take immediate and effective action to prevent further escalation of the crisis. Two days later, he addressed a special session of the Permanent Council. This was the second Early Warning in the history of the institution.

Vollebaek called for an independent international inquiry into the events, the establishment of an international police presence in the south of the country and for power-sharing arrangements to be set up, including the participation and representation of the ethnic Uzbek minority.

Although progress has been achieved in the last five years, Kyrgyzstan’s society is still struggling to heal, to find justice and to achieve cohesion.

“The authorities should be given credit for undertaking certain policy measures aimed at reconciling communities and improving inter-ethnic relations,” said Thors. “Destroyed property has largely been repaired and compensation has been paid to most of the victims.” She noted that the government adopted the State Concept on National Unity and Inter-ethnic Relations and established the Agency for Inter-ethnic Relations and Local Governance to address matters related to inter-ethnic relations.  

“It is, however, too early to talk about inter-ethnic accord in the country. Some negative tendencies persist and a sense of insecurity is still prevalent among the ethnic Uzbek community. There has been little progress in investigating cases related to the June 2010 events. Equal access to effective and impartial justice is essential for reconciliation of the society.”.

Thors also called for concrete measures to promote the representation and participation of members of all ethnic communities, as well as balanced and inclusive education policies.

The HCNM stands ready to continue supporting Kyrgyzstan’s government in its work to carry on policies promoting inter-ethnic peace and security in Kyrgyzstan.