25 september 2020

Central Asia news

Frightened by bigotry, Uzbek population of the southern Kyrgyzstan appeals to the president of the country

11.01.2006 11:08 msk

A. Mamaraimov (Dzhalalabad)

Ferghana Valley

The 7th Kurultai [Conference] of the Uzbek Center of National Culture of the Dzhalalabad region (Kyrgyzstan) took place on the eve of the Ijd-i Kurban. The kurultai adopted an appeal to President Kurmanbek Bakiyev expressing its worries over nationalism.

The document points out that ethnic problems existed in the region for years but installation of the new regime last March made them all the more pressing. "We remain targets of a campaign of harassment launched by fiscal bodies, law enforcement agencies, and executive power structures that live on the taxes we pay," the document stated. The statement is illustrated with episodes when representatives of the Uzbek community were put under pressure by state structures.

"There is among representatives of the titular nation a tendency of incitement of hatred with regard to Uzbeks and other ethnic groups. One hears speculations on how the Kyrgyz people is affected by the Uzbeks and other ethnic groups that allegedly become wealthier at the cost of the titular nation." The document describes the episode when several Kyrgyz women forced their way into the office of the mayor of Dzhalalabad when a state commission set up on the orders of the president and mayor was holding a meeting there. The women began berating the Uzbek people and threatening the authorities with a mass uprising that would lead to "another Osh" (a reference to the ethnic conflict in southern Kyrgyzstan in 1990 when a great deal of innocents were murdered - Ferghana.Ru). Neither the mayor nor representative of the governor also present at the meeting reacted to the women's behavior.

As far as kurultai delegates are concerned, all of that is happening because senior state officials and politicians elaborate in public speeches and in media outlets on the Kyrgyzes' exclusive rights to the land and its wealth. Legitimate interests of other ethnic groups are always ignored in these elaborations. The document states that neglect of ethics by state officials, their insulting statements and similar statements made by the so called "revolutionaries" from the provinces who keep demanding positions of power and other privileges for what they call favors done by them to the authorities in March 2005, give birth to distrust in the regime and thoroughly discredit it.

"Economic development and prosperity are impossible without equal terms and opportunities for all ethnic groups and peoples that comprise the people of Kyrgyzstan or without protection of their rights and legitimate interests," the appeal stated.

The Kyrgyz Uzbeks ask the president to define his position "with regard to representatives of other ethnic groups and peoples, including Uzbeks, in implementation of the domestic policy, and make an official statement for the media."