Peace-Building Networks: Kyrgyzstan talks about tensions and works towards peace
In June 2012, through ACTED’s USAID-funded peace-building project, the first eleven of a series of discussion groups known as round tables were held in the South of Kyrgyzstan to discuss and address tensions within participants’ communities and regions, through a peace building project supported by the United States Agency for International Development.
2010, in particular, was a turbulent year for Kyrgyzstan. The country experienced nationwide protests in April 2010 and fierce violence in the Southern cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad, involving ethnic clashes and large-scale destruction during June 2010. In addition, Kyrgyzstan has seen micro-scale tensions and violence in communities throughout the country.
As a result, ACTED formed peace-building round tables, each with a network of people from various sections of society including government officials, members of civil society, and religious and community leaders. The eleven round tables to have taken place so far have covered topics relating to potential causes of conflict and tension, specific to their community, including issues relating to water, youth unemployment, violations during national border-crossings, and problems over pasture land borders.
The diversity of the perceived rationale for tensions and potential conflict was highlighted through a number of discussions. One person stated there are “problems that we [Kyrgyz citizens] inherited from years of under-development, and they are not being addressed”’ Another person stated, “Psychological wounds of children [from the June 2010 violence] have not been healed yet.” The success of these round tables was noted by the Deputy Project Manager, who stated, “I believe the purpose of the first set of round tables was fulfilled as network members actively identified and discussed their concerns and issues.” Suggestions on how to address the concerns were also made, stating that they should be passed on for higher authorities to address, with the aim of reducing the likelihood of violence within Kyrgyz society.
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