Kyrgyzstan: Update to KGT29881.F of 13 August 1998 on the attitude of the authorities and society towards the Uighur minority (January 2000 - November 2000)
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||17 November 2000|
|Citation / Document Symbol||KGT35919.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Kyrgyzstan: Update to KGT29881.F of 13 August 1998 on the attitude of the authorities and society towards the Uighur minority (January 2000 - November 2000), 17 November 2000, KGT35919.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4be5414.html [accessed 11 December 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The 11 May 2000 issue of the Monitor, an online publication of the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington-based organization that "encourages democracy, civil liberty and free enterprise in Russia and throughout the former Soviet Union," states:
On May 8, Kyrgyz authorities announced that a court in the city of Osh has sentenced five men to various terms of imprisonment for "terrorism" and conspiracy to create a state of Uighuristan out of territories belonging to China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Three of them are Uighur emigres from China's Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region, a fourth is a citizen of Turkey and the fifth is an ethnic Karachai citizen of Russia. The trial took nearly two years to determine that this "extremist Islamic" group had been involved in two bomb explosions in June 1998 in Osh, one on a bus and one in an apartment building, which killed five innocent bystanders.
The announcement, issued by Kyrgyzstan's National Security Ministry, contained the mix of mutually inconsistent statements familiar from the communiques of Russian and Central Asian security and law enforcement authorities in similar situations. It portrayed the group as "Islamic fundamentalist" and "Wahhabi," notwithstanding the fact that the Uighur movement is secular nationalist. ...
Last week the Uighur international diaspora leader, Erkin Alptekin, who is also one of the leaders of the Geneva-based Organizations of Unrepresented Peoples, paid a visit to Bishkek in an attempt to discuss the situation of Uighurs with the authorities of Kyrgyzstan. Alptekin criticized the misrepresentation of Uighurs as "Wahhabis" and "Islamic fundamentalist" by local mass media. He asked the authorities to clarify the circumstances of Bazakov's assassination [Nigmat Bazakov, a leader of the Uighur community of Kyrgyzstan who was killed on March 28, 2000] in order to dispel suspicions that it had been politically inspired. Alptekin further registered concern that Kyrgyzstan may extradite some Uighurs to China in response to demands by Beijing. And he noted that growing insecurity among Uighurs in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan is beginning to generate an outmigration of that minority to points further west.
A 14 July 2000 Monitor article states:
Kyrgyzstan's internal affairs minister, Lieutenant-General Omurbek Kutuev, announced on July 10 the arrest of the "terrorists" – members of the Uighur Liberation Front– in Bishkek. The group includes citizens of China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkey. ... The minister pronounced the ten guilty of conspiring not only to separate the Xinjiang-Uighur autonomous Region from China by force, but also to "subvert the governments of other 'Shanghai Five' countries" – an allusion mainly to Kazakhstan which, like Kyrgyzstan, is home to an Uighur community. ... An official communique in Bishkek has announced that the ten face the death penalty in Kyrgyzstan, but that the authorities are willing to extradite them to countries of which they are citizens or by which they are wanted for trial. ...
Kyrgyzstan, like Kazakhstan, has until recently managed to avoid cracking down on Uighur groups on its territory. But it finds shunning police measures increasingly difficult: first, a radicalization of some Uighur groups in Central Asia and in China; second, a need to appease Beijing while Kyrgyzstan's southern border is seen to be threatened; and, third, the charged atmosphere created by Moscow and Taskhent around "Islamic extremism," a label which Beijing tries to pin also on the secular nationalist Uighur groups, and virtually requires Kyrgyzstan to move against them.
No additional information on the attitude of the authorities and society in Kyrgyzstan towards the Uighur minority could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Monitor [The Jamestown Foundation, Washington]. 14 July 2000. Vol. 6, Issue 137. "Kyrgyzstan Clamps Down on Uighur "Terrorist" Network." _____. 11 May 2000. Vol. 6, Issue 93. "Uighur Movement Misidentified as "Islamic Fundamentalist." Additional Sources Consulted Correspondence sent to one oral source. IRB databases LEXIS/NEXIS Internet sites including: Central Eurasia Project European Centre for Minority Issues Harvard Asia Quarterly Hokudai Slavic Research Centre International Crisis Group Minority Rights Group Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty The Times of Central Asia Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) World News Connection
_____. 11 May 2000. Vol. 6, Issue 93. "Uighur Movement Misidentified as "Islamic Fundamentalist."
Additional Sources Consulted
Correspondence sent to one oral source.
Internet sites including:
Central Eurasia Project
European Centre for Minority Issues
Harvard Asia Quarterly
Hokudai Slavic Research Centre
International Crisis Group
Minority Rights Group
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
The Times of Central Asia
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO)
World News Connection