Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2010 - Kyrgyzstan

Quick facts
Number of IDPsAbout 75,000
Percentage of total populationAbout 1.0%
Start of current displacement situation2010
Peak number of IDPs (Year)300,000 (2010)
New displacement300,000
Causes of displacementGeneralised violence, human rights violations
Human development index109

In June 2010, some 300,000 people were internally displaced in southern Kyrgyzstan by violence between ethnic Uzbek and Kyrgyz communities linked to domestic political developments. A further 75,000 people fled to Uzbekistan, returning soon thereafter. The violence involved armed attacks, sexual violence, kidnapping, arson and looting, and over 400 people of both ethnicities were killed. Most of the people displaced were ethnic Uzbek.

Most of the displaced returned to their places of origin shortly after the violence, but an estimated 75,000 people were still displaced at the end of 2010. They included people whose houses were damaged or who feared for their safety in their places of origin. The majority of IDPs were taking shelter with relatives and friends rather than gathering in camps; sometimes family members were staying on the grounds of their destroyed homes to safeguard the premises.

Despite the casualties, destruction of property and displacement suffered by ethnic Kyrgyz, ethnic Uzbeks bore the brunt of the violence. Ethnic Uzbeks make up at least 40 per cent of the population in affected areas, but the local governments are dominated by the ethnic Kyrgyz majority and discrimination continues to be reported.

Large clashes ended in June 2010, but the situation remained tense. The violence instilled fear and mistrust between affected communities, and IDPs continued to suffer intimidation, harassment, extortion and arbitrary detention, in some cases by police and courts. Perpetrators of human rights violations went unpunished, with investigations and court proceedings slow and international monitors reporting that most trials were not fair. As a result, people had little confidence in the rule of law and the justice system.

Many of the predominantly Uzbek neighbourhoods were looted and burned to the ground. Some 2,000 homes were damaged; 85 per cent of these were completely destroyed. Hundreds of shops and cafes were destroyed in the violence, and most of them were owned by ethnic Uzbeks, leaving many in the minority community unemployed and without alternative sources of income.

Many IDPs and returnees struggled to replace their lost or destroyed documents which proved ownership of their homes and businesses, often because of lengthy bureaucratic procedures or because they could not pay the requested bribes. Some people had never registered their homes or businesses, or their inheritance of them had not been documented.

Two schools for ethnic Uzbek children were also destroyed in the violence, and students who previously attended multi-ethnic schools have since gone to schools for pupils of the same ethnicity in an effort to ensure their security. A nationwide shortage of teachers and textbooks, as well as displaced families' inability to pay for uniforms, warm clothes and learning materials, has worsened the accessibility and quality of education for internally displaced children. Many of those affected by the conflict, including teachers and children, also still have a need for psycho-social support.

The government response has been compromised by its lack of funds and limited local capacity, though several initiatives have benefited IDPs. The government quickly issued decrees in support of the conflict-affected population. It financed the refurbishment and construction of 19 multi-storey housing blocks, social and cultural facilities and roads in areas affected by violence. It paid cash transfers to families in which the breadwinner had been killed, offered financial compensation to families with damaged or destroyed homes, and exempted from tax some owners of businesses that were affected by the violence.

International organisations introduced the cluster system in July 2010, through which they attended to the most urgent needs of the affected population. The shelter and non-food items cluster had built transitional shelters for over 13,000 people before the arrival of winter and distributed winter items to 25,000 people. The food security cluster had reached 99 per cent of its target for general food distribution, and the protection cluster had provided basic protection services to 67 per cent of people affected.

The UN flash appeal outlining the overall humanitarian approach through to June 2011 reported a 40 per cent shortfall in funding at the end of 2010, with $35 million still needed. The shortfall had particularly affected progress in meeting the population's needs for psycho-social support, water and sanitation in schools, assistance for entrepreneurs, vocational training and grants, agricultural activities and school learning materials.


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