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Kyrgyz unrest `systematic, well organised`: HRW

Last Updated: Saturday, June 26, 2010 - 15:57

Bishkek: The deadly inter-ethnic violence in
Kyrgyzstan this month was systematic and well-organised, Human
Rights Watch said today, urging an international inquiry into
the unrest.

The New York-based watchdog also warned that the
government`s decision to proceed with a referendum on a new
constitution tomorrow risks sparking a resurgence of the
violence between majority Kyrgyz and minority Uzbeks.

"Human Rights Watch research suggests that the violence,
particularly the attacks on Uzbek neighborhoods, was
systematic and, at least in some cases, well-organised," the
group said.

It said that Uzbeks were accusing government forces of
participating in the attacks on their neighbourhoods,
recounting how armoured personnel carriers had been used to
remove barricades in front of their neighbourhoods.

Local law enforcement officials had admitted that Armed
Personnel Carriers had been used in the attacks but claimed
however that the mobs had stolen weapons and military vehicles
from nearby military bases, Human Rights Watch said.

HRW said it could not conclude whether Kyrgyz security
forces were directly involved in the attacks based on the
information collected so far but said the issue should be a
key part of the investigation.

"There needs to be an international investigation to
establish what happened, determine who was responsible, and
ensure this kind of violence never happens again," said Ole
Solvang, emergencies researcher at HRW.

The statement detailed how five days of violence erupted
on June 10 when hundreds of Uzbeks gathered near a dormitory
in the centre of the southern city of Osh.

"The Uzbek crowd torched several buildings, including a
casino, and set fire to several cars."

"Violence escalated when rumours spread that people in
the Uzbek crowd had raped a Kyrgyz girl in the dormitory, a
rumour that turned out to be false," HRW said.


First Published: Saturday, June 26, 2010 - 15:57

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