UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay offered sharp words for Kyrgyz officials. In the wake of violence and communal riots that uprooted some 400,000 ethnic Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan last month, her office sent a team of investigators to the region. Today, Pillay says that her office has collected evidence that Kyrgyz security forces are responsible for detaining 1,000 ethnic Uzbeks, and subjecting them to torture and other ill treatment. From a statement released by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:
“Large numbers of people – most of them young men, and virtually all of them Uzbek – have been arbitrarily detained in ways that not only demonstrate flagrant ethnic bias, but also break many of the fundamental tenets of both Kyrgyz and international law,” Pillay said. “My staff in Kyrgzstan have received information suggesting that local authorities are routinely turning a blind eye to illegal arrests, torture and ill-treatment of detainees leading to forced confessions.”
“Victims’ lawyers, families and human rights defenders are also being threatened and intimidated to an alarming degree,” she said. “All of these acts are clearly illegal under the Kyrgyz penal code as well as under international law.”
And it also would appear that Kyrgyz authorities are trying to cover up their crimes.
Doctors have been reported to be refusing to issue medical certificates for people who have been subjected to torture or ill-treatment, as well as death certificates for some people who died during the June violence, thereby making it impossible for family members to claim compensation or inheritance. The UN Human Rights Office has also received reports that men in military dress have been increasingly seen in public health institutions, including hospitals, hampering victims’ access to medical care.
Seems to me that this is something the Human Rights Council ought to look into.