Populations at Risk
Previously Studied Situations
Between 10 June and 14 June 2010 at least 350 people were murdered, 2,326 injured and 400,000 forcibly displaced in southern Kyrgyzstan. The primary victims were ethnic Uzbeks.
The United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights referred to the attacks as pre-meditated and targeted. The organization and severity of the attacks appeared to rise to the level of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity - crimes that states committed themselves to protect populations from at the 2005 World Summit.
In the face of such crimes the then-provisional government of Kyrgyzstan declared that it was unable to protect its population. It asked for international assistance but little was forthcoming. Confronted with a state's manifest failure to protect and an ongoing risk of atrocities, the international response fell dramatically short of upholding the commitment to the responsibility to protect (R2P).
Regional and international actors must seize the opportunity to work with the government to strengthen its capacity to uphold its Responsibility to Protect. They must also be prepared to take measures to avert and halt mass atrocities in the future should preventive measures fail. An important first step should be the deployment of the long-awaited Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe police advisory group.