A Brief Statement from the CESS Board of Directors in Response to the Events in Kyrgyzstan

Below is a brief note from The Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS) Board of Directors:

As scholars of Central Asia, we are greatly saddened by the recent tragedy in southern Kyrgyzstan. We have all been shocked and surprised by the level of violence and the amount of destruction that took place in the city of Osh and in other parts of southern Kyrgyzstan from June 11-14, 2010.  Although the official number of deaths is listed at 214, informed estimates (including those of the leader of Kyrgyzstan’s Provisional Government) suggest that over 2,000 individuals may have been killed. The United Nations reports that approximately 400,000 Uzbeks have been displaced from their homes, including 100,000 refugees who crossed the border into Uzbekistan.

We express our deepest condolences to all of the families who have lost loved ones, and our concern for those whose lives and livelihoods have been severely disrupted by these events.

We are disheartened by the relative lack of international attention to the ongoing humanitarian crisis and political instability. We are also troubled by initial media accounts that attributed the violence to age-old ethnic tensions. This story demands much more sophisticated analysis and attention to a wider set of economic, social and political factors. Journalists and scholars must begin to sort out facts from rumors, and to record the lived experiences of those who have been affected by violence and displacement.

We encourage CESS members with expertise in this region to make an effort to contact the media so that this story will continue to get the attention that it deserves. We also encourage CESS members to participate in forums on Kyrgyzstan which will be held during upcoming CESS conferences in Ankara, Turkey (July 29-30, 2010) and East Lansing, Michigan (October 28-31, 2010).

The Central Eurasian Studies Society Board of Directors
June 28, 2010

Please visit the following for a list of organizations accepting donations to support humanitarian efforts in Kyrgyzstan and English-language articles and audio, video, and photos on the situation in Kyrgyzstan: