The interethnic situation between ethnic Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks in the south remained tense, characterized by arbitrary arrests, detention, torture, and extortion of ethnic Uzbeks by members of security services. Since June 2010 little progress was made in terms of reconciliation. Ethnic Uzbek citizens in Osh and Jalalabad reported discrimination in finding jobs, particularly with the government. There were multiple reports of seizure of ethnic Uzbek businesses and property.
In September Osh Mayor Melis Myrzakmatov proposed changing the teaching language at the city's Uzbek language schools to Kyrgyz. Although he
claimed the purpose was to benefit students by increasing their ability to find jobs in the country and study at higher learning institutions, many criticized the proposals as ethnic discrimination. At year's end the proposal had not been enacted.
International observers criticized the government for failing to implement a national ethnic plan, a key recommendation of the KIC report, and other recommendations for national reconciliation. Two such plans were proposed during the year. The Office of the President introduced its Draft Concept for Ethnic Policy and Consolidation of Society in Kyrgyzstan in late March. The political party Ata-Jurt introduced its State Ethnic Policy in the Kyrgyz Republic on April 27. Observers criticized the Ata-Jurt draft. They contended that it directly contradicted the constitution and laws and that it violated internationally accepted human rights principles because it promoted the notion of Kyrgyz ethnicity as the central element of nationhood. They further alleged that the plan's purpose was to promote the nationalist Ata-Jurt party prior to the impending presidential elections. Neither plan had been implemented by the end of the year, but the Ata Jurt plan had passed one of the required three readings in parliament, which established a working group to develop it further.
Minorities alleged discrimination in hiring, promotion, and housing, but no official reports were registered with local authorities.
The law designates Kyrgyz as the state language and Russian as an official language, and it provides for the preservation and equal and free development
of minority languages. Non-Kyrgyz-speaking citizens alleged that a ceiling precluded promotion beyond a certain level in government service. They also alleged that unfair language examinations disqualified some candidates for office. A government initiative to increase official use of Kyrgyz further raised concerns among non-Kyrgyz ethnic groups about possible discrimination.
Race, Racism and the Law
Vernellia R. Randall
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