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Kyrgyzstan: Letter to the Kyrgyz Government

Almazbek Atambaev
Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek
Ul. Shabdan Baatira, d. 46 (formerly Ul. Alma-Atinskaya)

Dear Prime Minister Atambaev,

I am writing to draw your attention to several problems that have marred investigations and trials regarding events in Kyrgyzstan in April and June 2010 and to urge your government to undertake immediate measures to address these shortcomings.

Human Rights Watch is a global, independent nongovernmental human rights organization that conducts research in more than 80 countries around the world. Our organization is supported by contributions from private individuals and foundations worldwide and accepts no government funds.

Over many years, Human Rights Watch has conducted research on a wide array of issues in Kyrgyzstan, including freedom of expression, suppression of political opposition, the use of torture, domestic violence, and the treatment of Kyrgyz migrant workers in receiving countries.  Since April we have focused on violations that have taken place in connection with the April uprising, which brought a new government to power, and the inter-ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan in June. Our reports and findings have been published on our website.

Human Rights Watch has been fortunate to enjoy a constructive dialogue with authorities at many levels of government in Kyrgyzstan and we hope to establish such a dialogue also with your government.

In the aftermath of the June events we conducted research into whether investigations into incidents which occurred in and around those events and the trials of those accused of criminal acts comply with international law. We have documented several shortcomings and violations, including the use of ill-treatment and torture during investigations, a lack of investigation into allegations of torture and ill-treatment, denial of detainees' due process guarantees, lack of security during trials and what appears to be discrimination based on ethnic identity, in the focus of the investigation and prosecution of suspects connected to the June violence in Osh. Our findings are provided in more detail in the attached memorandum and previously published documents.

I urge you to make it a priority for your government to address these shortcomings. Prompt, thorough and impartial investigations and prosecution of those responsible on all sides, in accordance with Kyrgyz and international law, are necessary to offer real justice for victims, protect fundamental fair trial guarantees for defendants and constitute crucial first steps towards reconciliation both in the context of the April and June events. It is also particularly important that investigations and prosecutions are conducted in a non-discriminatory manner, and in particular are free of any ethnic bias.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions or comments.

Yours sincerely,

Rachel Denber
Acting Executive Director
Europe and Central Asia Division

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