Wake of Ethnic Cleansing, Dubious Kyrgyz Referendum Supported by UN --
June 16 -- Despite over 100,000
ethnic Uzbeks having been
forced by violence out of Kyrgyzstan, the UN's man in Turkmenistan
Miroslav Jenca has said the UN supports still holding the country's
post-coup referendum on June 27.
UN Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq on June 16 is this
might not be rewarding ethnic cleansing, and whether the UN
that those who had to flee Kyrgyzstan should be allowed to vote in
City Press: with this number of people displaced and shooting still
going on, what would the UN say to those who say that an ethnic
minority that’s being targeted here won’t be able to vote in the
referendum, thereby rendering it less than legitimate?
Spokesperson: As far as that goes, yes, Mr. Jenca does believe that
the referendum needs to go ahead. Our Electoral Affairs Division
also is supportive of this. We realize the challenges, given the
level of displacement, but the Electoral Division is in touch with
the relevant electoral bodies in Kyrgyzstan and we’re trying to see
what alternatives can be done to make sure that people exercise their
right to vote.
City Press: Do you believe that the 100,000 Kyrgyz citizens now in
Uzbekistani camps should be allowed to vote in the election?
Spokesperson: We believe that all steps should be taken to make sure
that all of the Kyrgyz population can vote. The question, you’re
right, there is a very strong logistical challenge at this stage, and
we’ll have to see how that can be resolved. But our electoral
people are in touch with the relevant authorities in Kyrgyzstan on
City Press: Mr. Jenca, from his statement that it must go forward, it
seems like he thought that it’s been resolved, or is he saying that
it should go forward if it’s resolved or…?
He believes that, at this current stage, there is a
series of options, all which have their difficulties and their
problems. And the best way forward is to continue with the
referendum, and try to address all the various challenges that have
been caused by this displacement.
would install Roza Otunbayeva -- a former UN staffer -- in power
through 2011, and approve Constitutional changes. To do so weeks
after ethnic cleansing raises questions. What is the position of the
United States, whose Robert Blake is headed to Bishkek this week? As
Uzbeks call it ethnic cleansing or "attempted genocide,"
what does the US war crimes off, or Samantha Power, have to say?
UN's Ban, Jenca, and Central Asian dips: ethnic
cleansing not shown
More from the
rest of the UN
City Press: on this readout of the Secretary-General’s call with
Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan. Am I misreading it? Did he ask that
the border be opened so that people there that still are facing
violence are able to cross or did he not?
Spokesperson: Just to read back the readout, which we just got, he
said that he highly appreciated Uzbekistan’s constructive efforts
in addressing the alarming humanitarian situation in Kyrgyzstan,
particularly in opening the border for refugees and providing for
their care despite limited resources.
City Press: Why did they report that it was open at first and then it
was closed? Is it open or closed?
Spokesperson: As we’ve said in the last couple of days, there were
contradictory reports on this. We’ve been getting information on
UNHCR, and like I said, the Secretary-General just earlier today
spoke with President Karimov and this is the readout that I have.
Question: [inaudible] what about this
report that this crisis was deliberately
triggered off, that report by the United Nations?
Spokesperson: This is from comments that were made by my counterpart
at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert
Colville. I’d just refer you back to Mr. Colville’s remarks,
where he talked about identifying five specific incidents of attacks
a few days ago. And that’s part of the public record that we have
in our briefing notes from there.
can the UN say that an attempted genocide or ethnic cleansing was
planned, without saying who planned it? Watch this site.
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UNICEF Quiet on Uzbek Human Rights, Popov, as Karimov Closes
June 15, updated -- As UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he's
trying to get assistance to Uzbekistan
leader Islam Karimov, who has
closed his border to the ethnic Uzbeks fleeing violence in
Kyrgyzstan, it has emerged that Ban never pushed Karimov on human
rights, the incarceration of AIDS education activist Maxim Popov,
much less on border closing.
the chief of UNAIDS told Inner City Press that Ban had been slated to
raise to Karimov, during his trip through Central Asia, the
incarceration of Popov based on his UN system funded AIDS education
pamphlet. [Note: UNICEF says it was
not the funder, but has apparently not sought corrections from AFP, CPJ
or IFEX; there are indications that UNDP was the funder.]
asked Ban's Associate spokesman Farhan Haq if Ban had, in fact, ever
raised this issue to Karimov. Haq did not say then, nor since.
June 14, Inner
City Press asked Ban's top political adviser Lynn Pascoe, who has
asked Uzbekistan to open its border? Our focus is on getting
humanitarian supplies into Kyrgyzstan, said Pascoe, on his way to Sri
Lanka, viewed as another low point in the Ban Ki-moon human rights
UN's Ban dines with Karimovs, Popov and fleeing
Uzbeks not invited
asked UNICEF what it has done for Popov, and to respond to reports
that it has let itself be intimidated by Karimov's move to
problematic its Tashkent location(s). Days later, UNICEF provided
these terse responses:
in Tashkent is being relocated due to a major urban
redevelopment. Another site has been identified and UNICEF is
finalizing the move with representatives of the Government of
is the answer we received from the UN Country Team on Popov:
UN has approached the government to seek clarification about the
Popov case. The United Nations Human Rights Council – through its
Special Rapporteurs – has engaged with the Government of Uzbekistan
in this matter. With a view to ongoing proceedings, the United
Nations will refrain from providing any further comments.'"
education brochure was funded by UNICEF. And on the office
"relocation," it has been reported that
mainly foreigners, will temporarily relocate to other UN
offices in Tashkent, but local personnel who were already said to be
crowded into inadequate quarters before the order are apparently
being sent on a forced vacation for an undetermined period....
during a visit to Central Asia, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon
visited the UNICEF building together with Uzbek Prime Minister
Shavkat Mirziyoyev, but only for five minutes, and the staff was
unable to alert him to the issue of the move... independent observers
in Tashkent are concerned that the UN agency could be under some
pressure, as other international organizations have been in the past,
as they operate in some sensitive areas of human rights and
the World Health Organization (WHO) are in the midst of a massive
innoculation campaign of some 3 million children against polio, and
the Uzbek government has closed the border to Tajikistan as 32 polio
cases have been confirmed by WHO there. UNICEF has been careful to
avoid critical statements of the government, and the state-controlled
Uzbek media is not mentioning the campaign.
UNICEF grant recipient, HIV/AIDS campaigner Maxim Popov, was
sentenced last year in part on allegations of mismanaging donor funds
and "corrupting youth" with a sex education book, UNICEF
remained silent about his case, despite repeated pleas by human
rights groups to speak out. UNICEF, together with PSI (Population
Services International) Central Asia, had supported a book Popov
distributed on prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and the
use of birth control.
sure, Tashkent has been undergoing a general reconstruction which
has sparked public controversy with the removal of century-old
sycamore trees from the center of Tashkent and the creation of parks
and walkways that some activists have seen as deliberately designed
to prevent the gathering of large demonstrations in the public
squares. The current UNICEF office building is slated to be replaced
by a park
specifically asked UNICEF to respond to the report
received in return only two platitudes. Meanwhile, Ban Ki-moon has
yet to offer anything but "help" to Islam Karimov, even
after he closed the borders to ethnic Uzbeks fleeing Kyrgyz violence.
Uzbekistan's Islam Karimov close "his" country's border to
fleeing ethnic Uzbeks? Well, some of the Uzbeks in and around Osh
fled there after Karimov's crackdown on protesters in Andijon. To
ensure that none of them return to Uzbekistan, Karimov is willing to
block tens of thousands of ethnic Uzbeks and leave them in harm's
way. And the UN says... nothing. Watch this site.
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