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Helsinki Commission to Hold Hearing on Ethnic Violence in Kyrgyzstan

WASHINGTON– The United States Helsinki Commission will hold a hearing on the violence that took place in southern Kyrgyzstan one year ago, as well as continuing human rights abuses and reconciliation efforts. The hearing will focus on the report of the International Commission of Inquiry into the Events in Southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010 (KIC) – which concluded that some acts committed could constitute crimes against humanity if proven in a court of law – and in particular its recommendations to address the current situation.

“Addressing Ethnic Tension in Kyrgyzstan”

 Wednesday June 22, 2011

1:00 p.m.

2118 Rayburn House Office Building

During four days in June, 2011, ethnic Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks clashed in the southern region of Osh, leaving some 470 dead and over 400,000 displaced.  Thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed. Although international assistance prevented a humanitarian disaster, rebuilding has barely started. Human rights abuses continue and ethnic nationalism is on the rise.

An independent international investigative report released last month made numerous recommendations to the Government of Kyrgyzstan about addressing the serious ethnic situation.  So far, the reaction by the Kyrgyz authorities has been mixed, and it is unclear which proposals Bishkek will accept. In this complicated atmosphere, Kyrgyzstan is also facing presidential elections this fall, the final step in putting in place a new governmental system following the revolution that overthrew former President Bakiyev in April 2010.

The hearing will discuss ways rising ethnic tension can be addressed and further violence prevented, as well as the potential influence of domestic and international factors.

Witnesses:

Mr. Kimmo Kiljunen, Chairperson of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry into the Events in Southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010 (via video link)

His Excellency Muktar Djumaliev, Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United States

Dr. Martha Olcott, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Dr. Alisher Khamidov, Professorial Lecturer, Johns Hopkins University (SAIS)

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