Ban Praises Kyrgyz Vote But Takes No Question on Low Uzbek Turn
June 28 -- Capping a month of weak UN
action on ethnic
cleansing in Kyrgystan, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday
morning read out a statement to the Press lauding a high voter turn
out over the weekend on the Constitution, which outlaws ethnicity
based political parties.
began to ask Ban a question, for Ban's and the UN's estimate of turn
out for the targeted ethnic Uzbek group. We can give you information
at the noon briefing, Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky cut in. Ban
border town of Suratash, to which ethnic Uzbeks fled to escape
violence and targeted rape, only 100 of 4000 people were able to vote
on the constitution, according to the Associated Press. How can the
Ban and the UN be praising such a turn out, and then refusing to take
questions? To some it smacks of propaganda.
Ethnic Uzbeks on the move, right to vote and UN
answers not shown
three questions for Ban to take, doing so in such a way that
Kyrgystan was unlikely to come up. The first question was on Israel
and Palestine; the next was on Iran. The last question was on Haiti.
All three were high diplomacy questions, none implicating the UN and
the decisions it makes.
Ban flies off
to the Congo, saying he will express the world's solidarity with the
Congolese people on the 50th anniversary of the DRC's independence.
What about the pending nepotism report against Ban's envoy to the
Congo, Alan Doss? Watch this site.
* * *
Forcibly Returned as Props for Kyrgyz Voting, UN Speaks of
NATIONS, June 25 -- Ethnic Uzbeks
chased out of Kyrgyzstan by
targeted violence are now being forced to return from Uzbekistan,
that the Kyrgyz de facto government can claim they had a chance to
vote in Sunday's referendum purportedly legitimizing that government
and its new constitution.
UN, which despite the disenfranchisement of Uzbeks is supporting
Sunday's referendum, coyly reports that many of those who fled are
returning “with mixed feelings.” Inner City Press on Friday asked
UN spokesman Martin Nesirky to square this with reports of people
being forced onto a bus in Uzbekistan, at the request of the Kyrgyz
government. Video here,
from Minute 11.
said “we are aware of those report.” Ok, but is UNHCR present in
Uzbekistan to see if people are being forced to return?
is not in a position to monitor all.. including from the Uzbek side
of the border.” So, no. UNHCR is not looking at the returns, but is
bragging about the numbers going back.
As Uzbeks cry of violence, Kyrgyz gov't is eying
vote, legitimacy not shown
forcibly bussed to an election in an area just the scene of ethnic
cleansing is not the same as voting. The interim Government dropped
the minimum turn out percentage for the referendum from 50% to 30%.
Inner City Press asked what is the UN's number, below which even the
UN will admit there a legitimacy problem?
not playing a numbers game,” Nesirky said of the election. What
other game is there to play? Watch this site.
* * *
Kyrgyz Blame Ethnic Cleansing on Uzbek Islamists, UN Council Belatedly
Meets, "Humanitarian" Only
June 24 -- With ethnic Uzbeks threatened with
by ethnic cleansing in this Sunday's vote in
Kyrgyzstan, the UN Security Council on Thursday belatedly took up
“humanitarian” issue on Thursday.
Permanent Representatives were at a retreat in Turkey, a country
which has come out in favor of the vote without Uzbeks. So second
string Ambassadors gathered in the Council in New York to hear a
closed door briefing from a second string UN political operative.
security agency of former UN staffer Roza Otunbayeva blamed
violence on deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and “Islamic
militants,” including the Taliban and the Islamic Movement of
Uzbekistan, to which Bakiyev allegedly paid $30 million.
chased from Osh testify about Krygyz soldiers aiding and allowing the
violence. At the UN, though, faced with a choice of blaming a failure
to protect civilians on a government or on a shadowy scapegoat, the
latter is easiest. Updated below
Kyrgyz soldiers on the move, right to vote not shown
on June 14,
while the Perm Reps were in town, most of them left before the UN's
Lynn Pascoe briefed. Afterward Inner City Press asked Mexico's Claude
Heller, then and now the Council President, if Pascoe or any Council
member had spoken of the need to re-open the border of Uzbekistan to
allow those fleeing violence to escape.
was that there was concern about “internationalizing” the
conflict, which seemed to mean the Council saw some benefit in
trapping those targeted in Kyrgyzstan. Certainly Russia, which
considers the region is backyard, wants to contain or bottle up the
why is the
United States favoring a referendum Sunday which will
disproportionately exclude the targeted minority Uzbeks? Perhaps this
will be explained after Thursdays briefing. Watch this site.
Update of 10:26 am -- while most countries on the
Council are represented by deputies -- including the US' Brooke
Anderson -- Russia has its top three UN diplomats. Vitaly Churkin, who
it was noted has not spoken to the press in some time, went on the
Council's Afghanistan trip, but not its junket to Turkey. "This is
about their backyard," one wag noted. And then the Council doors closed.
Update of 11:18 am
-- As Council representatives (many new faces) came out, Inner City
Press was told that the UN briefer didn't raise the specifics of the
proposed Constitution to be voted on Sunday, certainly not the
provision outlawing ethnicity based political parties. Nor, it seems,
Karimov's blocking of polling in the refugee camps.
Press asked Taranco as he came out if he had briefed about the
Constitution. I have another meeting, he replied. There will be a read
out. But when? From inside the Council chamber, there is cheering timed
to the Slovakia - Italy World Cup game.
Update of 11:46 am
-- A staffer emerging from the Council says not even Mexico remains
inside now that the game is over (Slovakia 3, Italy 2 and Italy
eliminated, like France, from the Cup).
We have hit a
new low: a closed door briefing about ethnic cleansing, with no outcome
document and no summary from the month's Presidency. Yellow card
-- that makes two. Seeing red...
* * *
Disenfranchised, UN Still Supports June 27 Kyrgyz Referendum: Security
1, Legitimacy 0
June 23 -- In the run up to the Kyrgyz constitutional
referendum still scheduled for June 27, the intentional
of ethnic Uzbeks becomes ever more clear.
will those who fled the country not be able to vote -- many of those
remaining have had their passports and other identity documents
burned or otherwise destroyed.
will not be allowed to vote, on a
constitution which would outlaw any ethnic Uzbek based political
UN has not retracted its envoy Miroslav Jenca's statement that the
referendum “must” go forward on June 27.
That the US
both of which have bases in Kyrgyzstan, would want to push through
anything to make the de facto
government there appear more legitimate
is not surprising.
But isn't the
UN supposed to stand against ethnic
cleansing, and disenfranchisement based on ethnic cleansing?
Uzbeks flee Osh on bus, ability to vote June 27 not shown
June 22, Inner
asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky:
Press: you said in one of your readouts about the difficulty of
delivering humanitarian aid because of the barricades. But some are
saying that in fact, I mean, the Uzbek community put up barricades
because people were coming into the community and burning their
houses and killing them, and committing other atrocities. What’s
been the UN’s position on the involuntary dismantling of the
barricades, particularly in light of a report today that troops,
Kyrgyz troops, beat and arrested ethnic Uzbek men in a neighbourhood
of Osh. Is that something the UN is concerned about — the removal
of barricades and increased violence?
We remain concerned about the tensions that there are in
Osh, particularly in Osh, and elsewhere in the south of Kyrgyzstan. And
we’re obviously concerned, and the Secretary-General himself is
following closely the reports of some renewed violence and bloodshed.
On the barricades, Miroslav Jenc(a, the Special Representative of
the Secretary-General, has been in Osh, and has been speaking to
security officials and other local officials and also to local
people. And he’s fully aware of the sensitivities that there are
amongst the ethnic Uzbek population, and about the concerns that they
have. And I know that he’s been speaking to the authorities there
precisely because of those concerns.
Press: Also on Kyrgyzstan, yesterday I was informed by a
well-placed person that the President of Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov,
has informed the UN and Kyrgyz authorities that there can be no
polling in the refugee camps that have been established for people
that fled across the border. I wonder, one, if you can just, I mean,
I think this is true, but whether you can either now, or later today,
confirm the UN’s understanding. And then if you do confirm it,
explain how the UN can support an election that will, will you know,
absolutely, or formally disenfranchise at least 80,000 people based
on what many people see as ethnic cleansing.
First of all, Mr. Jenc(a made clear in that audio briefing on Friday
that the question of holding the referendum is one for the
authorities of Kyrgyzstan. That’s the first thing. The second is
that there are obvious concerns about people who are not in a
position to vote. And I know that UN officials and others, including
from the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe]
and the European Union, are talking to the authorities of the interim
government of Kyrgyzstan about how one handles that. I will come
back to you with some more details particularly on that, the part of
the question about the Uzbek President having communicated with the
UN about polling on his territory.
Press: And just one follow up on that, because I think there is
a Bloomberg or Business Week story in which Mr. Jenc(a is quoted as
saying the referendum must go forward. Has there been a change in
his position since he said that, or was he misquoted when he said
Well, you heard what Mr. Jenc(a said here, or in this, by audio here
on Friday. It’s for the Kyrgyz authorities to decide on that. There are
many factors that are involved; the balance of legitimacy
For now, Security 1, Legitimacy 0...