Amnesty International, HRW Call for Action on International Kyrgyzstan Inquiry

Posted June 7th, 2011 at 12:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called on the government of Kyrgyzstan to act on the recommendations of an international report about last year's ethnic violence in that country, or face the possibility of further clashes.

Four days of deadly clashes took place last June between ethnic Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks in the Osh and Jalal-Abad areas, leaving more than 450 people dead and thousands of others injured.

A report by the Kyrgyzstan Inquiry Commission last month detailed violence by both sides, but highlighted what it said was the systematic and widespread nature of the attacks on entire Uzbek neighborhoods. The report added that if the nature of the attacks could be proven in a court of law, those acts would amount to crimes against humanity.

In the aftermath of the violence, the commission said Kyrgyz security forces used excessive force in their search operations and tortured or ill-treated the detainees. The report said ethnic Uzbeks accounted for 75 percent of the casualties and suffered almost 90 percent of the property damage, but also accounted for around 80 percent of those accused of crimes. It said about 20 cases of rape and sexual violence also were reported.

Amnesty International says corruption and ethnic bias are behind the inadequate reporting of the crimes in Kyrgyzstan, with thousands of cases awaiting completion. The rights group says all of the crimes must be investigated and tried in fair proceedings.

Human Rights Watch says the Kyrgyz government welcomed the report and acknowledged that human rights violations had occurred. But it says the report is biased in favor of ethnic Uzbeks.

The commission's report also called “particularly disturbing the ease with which crowds gained access to weapons, ammunition and other equipment from military and police forces. It added that some members of the security forces took part in the attacks on Uzbek neighborhoods.