Rights bodies warn over Kyrgyzstan "brutality"

The Geneva-based UN high commissioner for human rights has called for an end to violence in southern Kyrgyzstan.

This content was published on June 14, 2010 - 21:12

Navi Pillay said on Monday that the interethnic clashes appeared to be “orchestrated, targeted and well planned”.

“It seems indiscriminate killings, including of children, and rapes have been taking place on the basis of ethnicity,” she said.

She demanded that security forces be given “strict instructions to avoid unnecessary force”, and called on the neighbouring countries of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to keep their borders open to anyone needing sanctuary.

The Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has also expressed grave concern about events in the area.

According to the Kyrgyz health ministry, 124 people have so far been killed, but the ICRC head of operations for Central Asia said the true figure was much higher.

She told a news conference in Geneva that the ICRC had seen about 100 bodies buried hastily without identification in one cemetery.

She said at least 80,000 people had fled towards Uzbekistan, and another 15,000 were held up at the border.

She quoted reports of “exteme brutality”, including the burning of homes with children inside.

The organisation has launched an appeal for funds, and intends to increase the number of staff it has on the spot, particularly experts in food and water.

The violence erupted on the night of June 10 in the city of Osh between ethnic Kyrgyz and members of the Uzbek minority. Economic disparities between the two groups are behind chronic tension in the area.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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