News / Asia

Kyrgyzstan Stalls on Probe Into Ethnic Clashes

Nearly a month after deadly ethnic clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan, authorities have made little headway in carrying out a formal investigation into the violence.  And distrust is still running high among the region's ethnic communities.

Kyrgyzstan's National Security chief pledged Friday to prevent a new wave of unrest in southern Kyrgyzstan. But observers say it will be difficult for security forces to establish stability when their credibility is in question, underscoring the need for an outside investigative commission.

Police appear to be taking advantage of the instability for personal and political gain, said Paul Quinn-Judge from the International Crisis Group.

"There is extreme tension in particular in the Uzbek districts of the town caused in part by very widespread reports, many of them seemingly extremely accurate, that the police are raiding Uzbek houses, taking away people, sometimes simply arresting them, sometimes making the families considerable ransoms to get them back," Quinn-Judge said.

He added the Kyrgyz community is also very nervous, and that there is a real fear that new violence could erupt.

The Kyrgyz government says nearly 300 people died in clashes last month between Kyrgyz and Uzbek residents in the country's south. But regional experts say the death toll could be as high as 2,000. The fighting drove nearly 400,000 mostly Uzbek refugees out of Osh and Jalalabad. Most have returned to their homes.

The United States and the European Parliament are calling for an independent, international investigation into the violence.  This week, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake said that an international team may have greater expertise and authority than Kyrgyz investigators.

"And it will give some comfort to the Uzbek community, which as you know is feeling very aggrieved right now and very worried and itself has been the object of many of the arrests that have taken place so far, which itself is causing some questions about the government's true commitment to reconciliation," said Blake.

Despite those concerns, Blake believes interim President Roza Otunbayeva is working toward reconciliation and returning the country to democracy.

"There are efforts underway, again, to form a national commission and I think they will cooperate in some way on an international one as well," said Blake. "But really that's for them to make an announcement about."

Human Rights Watch says the Kyrgyz interim government asked Europe's highest security body this week for help preparing an international commission.

Quinn-Judge of the International Crisis Group says an investigation must start quickly in order to gather credible evidence.

"The window of opportunity closes fast. People can be intimidated. People are traumatized. People's memories will start blurring things up and this is just a technical issue, "Quinn-Judge said. "It is very important to have serious people up and running looking at this issue as quickly as they can."

But he said even if investigators begin their work, it will be difficult to establish lasting peace in southern Kyrgyzstan as long as local law enforcement agencies are implicated in the unrest.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid