Kyrgyzstan

Emergency response Violence in southern Kyrgyzstan, Six-month update December 15, 2010

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After the violence, shattered lives

I ncreasing social discontent in Kyrgyzstan led to demonstrations that resulted in the resignation of the country's president on April 7 and the establishment of an interim government.

The following two months were marked by protests and violent clashes as various elements struggled for influence in the fragile political environment. The south of the country, traditionally the power base of the deposed president, experienced escalating violence between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbek populations. The peak of the violence began on June 10 in the center of the city of Osh, where groups of several thousand armed youths fought. Over the following days, communal violence spread to major areas of the southern provinces of Osh and Jalal-Abad, with reports of mass killings, rape, looting and arson. After June 14, the violence subsided due to a decisive military and police intervention. On June 27, the citizens ratified a draft constitution on a referendum and on October 10 parliamentary elections took place. Since then a level of calm has prevailed, but the loss of trust between the different ethnic communities is evident.

The violence brought about severe humanitarian consequences for children and their families. Within a matter of days the violence displaced an estimated 400,000 people. Some 75,000 refugees, 96% of which were women and children, crossed the border into neighboring Uzbekistan until they deemed it safe to return. As of October 27, the official numbers indicate 415 people died during the conflict and more than 4,600 were injured.