Thursday, May 05, 2011

Kyrgyzstan: Rights chief urges follow-up action on report on ethnic violence

This woman who was displaced by the violence in southern Kyrgyzstan returned to find her house badly damaged

UN - The United Nations human rights chief today welcomed the newly released report of the commission that probed last year’s inter-ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan and urged the country’s Government to act quickly on the recommendations.

The Kyrgyzstan Inquiry Commission (KIC) recommended that the Government carry out further investigations and prosecute those responsible for the violence that claimed the lives of an estimated 470 people in June 2010.

“This report should give considerable impetus to Kyrgyzstan’s efforts to combat impunity and address issues of accountability after the inter-ethnic strife in the southern part of the country last summer,” said Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a press release.

The KIC, headed by former Finnish parliamentarian Kimmo Kiljunen, published its detailed report yesterday.

“There can be no lasting reconciliation without justice, and I believe this report sets out a viable pathway to achieving both,” said Ms. Pillay.

She commended Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva for initiating the independent inquiry and noted the detailed comments on the report by the Government.

“This is the first time that an international commission of inquiry has been established in a Central Asian State,” said Ms. Pillay. “And I understand it was given unimpeded access to carry out its work properly.

‘It is important that the Government, at both national and local levels, carries out the essential follow-up in the same spirit, which, given the nature of the work to be done – namely establishing individual criminal responsibility – will require courage and determination,” she added.

The report notes that some 1,900 people were injured, more than 400,000 displaced, and an unknown number of women subjected to sexual violence, amid widespread looting and destruction of property. The majority of the victims were ethnic Uzbeks, but ethnic Kyrgyz also suffered significant losses, according to the report.

Ms. Pillay welcomed the Government’s announcement that it intends to set up a special commission to implement and monitor the implementation of the recommendations of the KIC report and other reports on the violence.

She said was ready to assist the Government in a variety of ways through her office in the country’s capital, Bishkek, and in close cooperation with international and regional partners.

The assistance would be in the form of rebuilding and strengthening rule of law institutions; making the rule of law more accessible, equitable and effective to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights; and enabling the development of a more tolerant and inclusive society in Kyrgyzstan.