Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2017, 16:28 GMT

Global Overview 2011: People internally displaced by conflict and violence - Kyrgyzstan

Publisher Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)
Publication Date 19 April 2012
Cite as Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Global Overview 2011: People internally displaced by conflict and violence - Kyrgyzstan, 19 April 2012, available at: [accessed 16 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis 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.
Quick facts
Number of IDPsAbout 67,000
Percentage of total populationAbout 1.0%
Start of current displacement situation2010
Peak number of IDPs (Year)300,000 (2010)
New displacement0
Causes of displacementGeneralised violence, human rights violations
Human development index126

Around 300,000 people were displaced in June 2010 by violence in southern Kyrgyzstan between the Kyrgyz majority and the Uzbek minority. In September 2011, humanitarian organisations estimated that there were around 4,000 remaining IDPs and 63,000 returned IDPs with continuing identified needs related to their displacement.

Broader national political developments led to the violence, which involved armed attacks, sexual assaults, kidnapping, arson and looting, notably in the urban centres of Osh and Jalal-Abad. Over 400 people (both Uzbeks and Kyrgyz) were killed, and some 2,000 houses were damaged or destroyed. While both communities suffered significant loss, Uzbeks bore the brunt of the violence, displacement and property damage.

Relations between the Kyrgyz and Uzbek communities were poisoned by the 2010 events and deep rifts remain. Uzbek IDPs reported in 2011 that they were subject to extortion by the police at their homes and businesses and in many community markets, and that they were reluctant to report this to the authorities as it would lead to further harassment. They said that the police appeared to be aware of who had received compensation for losses, and tended to focus their extortion efforts on those individuals or areas.

Uzbeks had been increasingly excluded from social and economic affairs, and they avoided public spaces for their own safety. Uzbeks also continued to feel insecure because perpetrators of human rights violations during the 2010 violence were still largely unpunished, and because the vast majority of court cases that had progressed had been against Uzbeks. For their part, many Kyrgyz reportedly feared Uzbek retaliation, and also limited their use of public spaces.

More than two thirds of IDPs had returned to their homes by the end of 2010. Some had received international assistance and financial compensation from the authorities which helped them take possession of their homes and rebuild them if necessary. However, progress was slow in 2011 and the homes of the vast majority were still damaged or destroyed.

Registration of the homes rebuilt with aid money has been seriously delayed in Osh, raising real concerns for their residents. The government has reportedly planned to demolish areas in the centre of the city as part of a long-term urban plan for Osh. Should this plan be adopted, unregistered property could be more easily demolished or expropriated with residents receiving little or no compensation: Observers suspect that the Uzbek community would be disproportionately affected.

Thousands of businesses were destroyed in the 2010 violence. Most of the shops and cafes destroyed were owned by Uzbeks. With compensation for most of these lost businesses yet to be paid in 2011 and jobs scarce, many who lost their businesses were still unemployed and without alternative sources of income. Others who were rebuilding their homes under self-help assistance schemes could not find time to restart their businesses. Uzbeks have reported that they have been unable to resume trading in the market, because their places have been taken, the police and criminal groups demand bribes, and fights break out between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz. Many get by on remittances and government allowances, but some IDPs struggle to receive allowances since they have been unable to replace lost or destroyed documents.

The government response has been compromised by its lack of funds and limited local capacity, though several initiatives have benefited IDPs. An improved response would include a comprehensive reparations programme to provide victims, and the IDPs among them, with adequate material compensation for their losses and rehabilitation. The establishment of a truth commission with displacement as part of its mandate to examine the 2010 events and their causes and consequences will be necessary for lasting peace.

More than 70 organisations have provided support to thousands of people affected by the 2010 violence. The international community has coordinated its response using the cluster system. The system remained in place after the most urgent needs of the affected population were attended to, but the clusters held few meetings in 2011. The UN appeal to fund humanitarian activities through to June 2011 received $66 million, 70 per cent of the amount requested. The shortfall of about $29 million particularly affected progress in supporting agricultural activities, education, health care, water and sanitation and reconciliation. In late 2011, UNHCR called for continued financial support to address the remaining needs of affected people in southern Kyrgyzstan.

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