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Thursday, 8 July 2010 - Strasbourg
Situation in Kyrgyzstan

European Parliament resolution of 8 July 2010 on the situation in Kyrgyzstan

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia, in particular those of 12 May 2005 and 6 May 2010,

–  having regard to its resolution of 20 February 2008 on an EU Strategy for Central Asia(1),

–  having regard to the EU Programme for the Prevention of Violent Conflict adopted by the European Council in Göteborg in 2001,

–  having regard to the statements made by the Vice-President/High Representative Catherine Ashton on the fresh clashes which took place in Kyrgyzstan on 11 June 2010 and on the constitutional referendum of 28 June 2010,

–  having regard to the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council of 14 June 2010,

–  having regard to the joint statement on the situation in Kyrgyzstan issued by the Special Envoy of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, the UN Special Representative and the EU Special Representative in Kyrgyzstan on 16 June 2010,

–  having regard to the EU Strategy for a New Partnership with Central Asia adopted at the European Council meeting of 21/22 June 2007,

–  having regard to the Joint Progress Report of 14 June 2010 by the Council and the Commission to the European Council on the implementation of the EU Strategy for Central Asia,

–  having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between the EU and Kyrgyzstan, which entered into force in 1999,

–  having regard to the European Community Regional Strategy Paper for Assistance to Central Asia for the period 2007-2013,

–  having regard to Rule 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas on 11 June 2010 violent clashes erupted in the southern Kyrgyzstan cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad and continued to escalate until 14 June 2010, with hundreds of armed men reportedly storming the city streets, shooting civilians and setting fire to shops, choosing their targets on the basis of ethnicity,

B.  whereas according to the Kyrgyz authorities around 300 people died in the clashes, although fears have been expressed, including by the head of the interim government Rosa Otunbayeva, that the real figure could be much higher; whereas more than 2000 people were injured or hospitalised and many are still missing,

C.  whereas it has been estimated that as a result of the violence 300 000 people have been internally displaced and 100 000 have sought refuge in nearby Uzbekistan; whereas the Tashkent government provided humanitarian assistance to the refugees with the help of international organisations, but closed its border with Kyrgyzstan on 14 June 2010, citing a lack of capacity to take in more people,

D.  whereas the interim government declared a state of emergency in the area and security forces were unable to take control; whereas appeals issued by interim president Roza Otunbayeva to Russian President Medvedev and to the Collective Security Treaty Organisation for military support in restoring order were turned down; whereas a request to send an international police force has been made and is currently being considered by the OSCE,

E.  whereas the EU has a clear interest in a peaceful, democratic and economically prosperous Kyrgyzstan; whereas the EU has committed itself, in particular through its Central Asia Strategy, to act as a partner of the countries in the region; whereas a much greater international commitment is now urgently needed and the EU's response will have an impact on its credibility as a partner,

F.  whereas the Commission has allocated EUR 5 million to provide emergency medical support, humanitarian aid, non-food items, protection and psychological assistance for persons affected by the crisis; whereas this should be set against the UN's flash appeal for USD 71 million in emergency aid,

G.  whereas, through the Göteborg Programme adopted in 2001 and subsequent documents, the EU has recognised the importance of conflict prevention, and whereas the current situation in Kyrgyzstan calls for theoretical ideas to be transformed into practical action,

H.  whereas a referendum which was conducted in fairly peaceful circumstances on 27 June 2010 and which saw a high turnout resulted in the approval by more than 90% of the voters of a new constitution that strikes a balance between presidential and parliamentary powers, the confirmation of Rosa Otunbayeva as interim president until 31 December 2011 and the dismissal of the Constitutional Court; whereas parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held on 10 October 2010,

I.  whereas the countries of Central Asia face a number of common challenges, such as poverty and serious threats to human security and the need to strengthen democracy, good governance and the rule of law; whereas there is a need to revive and step up regional cooperation in order to develop a common approach to the problems and challenges facing the region; whereas regional and international actors must pursue a more common approach to the problems and challenges facing the region,

J.  whereas the EU must always honour its commitment to mainstream human rights, democracy and the rule of law in its agreements with third states and to promote democratic reforms through coherent policies which enhance its credibility as a regional player,

1.  Expresses grave concern at the tragic, violent clashes which broke out in southern Kyrgyzstan and extends its condolences to the families of all the victims;

2.  Condemns the recent violence in southern Kyrgyzstan; deplores the loss of human lives and expresses the hope that a peaceful solution can be found to the conflict in Kyrgyzstan, on the basis of democratic principles, the rule of law and respect for human rights;

3.  Calls on the interim government to conduct a credible, impartial and independent investigation into the violence, with the possible assistance of international actors, with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice;

4.  Calls on the interim authorities to make every effort to secure a return to normality and to put in place all the necessary conditions so that refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) can voluntarily return to their homes in safety and dignity; urges the local authorities to take effective confidence-building measures and to open a genuine dialogue with all the ethnic communities living in southern Kyrgyzstan with the aim of developing a credible reconciliation process;

5.  Calls, in that connection, on the Commission to step up humanitarian assistance, in cooperation with international organisations, and to start short- and medium-term reconstruction programmes to rebuild destroyed homes and replace lost assets and to carry out rehabilitation projects in conjunction with the Kyrgyz authorities and other donors in order to create conditions conducive to the return of refugees and IDPs; draws attention, in this regard, to the importance of local development projects;

6.  Draws attention to the need for a major international effort to assist in reconstruction, stabilisation and reconciliation in southern Kyrgyzstan and to the opportunity to lay the groundwork for such an effort which a planned meeting of donors in Bishkek on 27 July 2010 offers;

7.  Emphasises that the humanitarian response must be accompanied by efforts to stabilise the situation and reduce and prevent the considerable risk of renewed violence, which could threaten also peace and security in other parts of the Ferghana Valley, which runs through Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan;

8.  Calls for a substantial increase in EU humanitarian aid to the people affected by the recent violence in southern Kyrgyzstan, as well as for comprehensive use of the Instrument for Stability;

9.  Believes that a new level of EU engagement in southern Kyrgyzstan will be necessary in the longer term as well; reiterates its call to the Commission to prepare proposals for a reallocation of funds under the Development Cooperation Instrument designed to put the EU in a better position to give a sustained response to the new situation in Kyrgyzstan; maintains that a focus on human security is essential in the EU's Central Asia policy;

10.  Calls on the Vice-President/High Representative and the Member States to support and contribute actively to the prompt deployment of an OSCE police mission with the aim of preventing any fresh outbreak of violence, stabilising the situation in the cities affected by the clashes, protecting the victims and the most vulnerable people and facilitating the return of refugees and IDPs;

11.  Takes note of the fairly peaceful conduct of the constitutional referendum in Kyrgyzstan on 27 June 2010; stresses that the return to constitutional order and the rule of law is crucial with a view to the long-term stabilisation of the situation in the country; emphasises that the next parliamentary elections (provisionally scheduled for October 2010) should provide the constitutional basis for a government enjoying both strong legitimacy and widespread popular support; calls, therefore, on the authorities to take immediate and resolute measures to remedy the significant shortcomings identified by OSCE/ODIHR in time for the forthcoming parliamentary elections; looks forward to establishing strong interparliamentary links with the future Parliament of Kyrgyzstan;

12.  Expresses concern at reports of arrests of some human rights defenders in Kyrgyzstan and calls for their immediate release; calls on the Kyrgyz authorities to take all the measures needed to ensure that human rights defenders can carry on their work to promote and protect human rights without hindrance;

13.  Stresses the common interest of and the common responsibility borne by Kyrgyzstan, its neighbours, Russia, China, the EU, the US, the OSCE and the rest of the international community in preventing destabilisation, and calls on all the actors involved to identify synergies;

14.  Expresses concern at the difficulties besetting the democratisation process in Kyrgyzstan, which seem to stem from the weak position of Kyrgyzstan's interim government and the strength of criminal networks in the country, including drug-smugglers in southern Kyrgyzstan;

15.  Believes that establishing a pluralist political system which allows for representation of a range of interests and arbitration is fundamental to reducing tensions and preventing new eruptions of violence and that the EU and its Member States must actively support democratisation and strive to reduce the differences in the attitudes of international actors, so as to improve the prospects for the reform process in Kyrgyzstan;

16.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, the interim government of Kyrgyzstan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Secretary-General of the OSCE and the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe.

(1) OJ C 184 E, 6.8.2009, p. 49.

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