The Independent International Commission of Inquiry recently issued its final report on last June’s clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks. In testimony before the Helsinki Commission, Martha Olcott explains the local reaction to the report and the social and political implications for Kyrgyzstan.
U.S. Policy Recommendations:
- Help ensure accountability: The United States should support efforts to identify, apprehend, and prosecute those responsible for last summer’s violence.
- Urge equal protection under law: The United States should press the Kyrgyz government to guarantee the basic human rights of all its citizens, and to afford them the same opportunities regardless of ethnicity.
- Stick to the basics: The United States should emphasize a simple and universally applicable message of equality and accountability before the law and not dilute the primacy of this message by focusing on more controversial questions like renaming the country, or changing the constitutional status of minority languages, as the Independent Commission did.
Olcott concludes that the international community should focus on pressing the Kyrgyz government “to respect the basic human rights of all their citizens.” She argues that “this more limited approach might make us more effective in trying to ensure that peace prevails in Kyrgyzstan’s south. But there will be no guarantees.”