Community voices: Bazar-Korgon, Kyrgyzstan
Nurzada is a school teacher from a Kyrgyz school in Bazar-Korgon, in the south of Kyrgyzstan, and a Community Security Working Group member involved in activities to address inter-ethnic tensions:
"My name is Nurzada, I am a teacher at Bokonbaev boarding school. I am also a member of the Community Security Working Group of Bazar-Korgon. I have been involved in Saferworld’s programme since 2010. After our initiatives I've changed my opinion about the environment and about people around me. I began to realise that it is very important to be proactive and to raise the issues of security, without waiting for someone else to. I saw many people who are really concerned for their safety and now I try to participate in all activities aimed at peacebuilding. I like how the programme works, I like that it helps us to solve the issues of our safety. With the help of this programme we are building up our capacity and building relationships with other actors to jointly address community security issues.
Before I was involved in this project I was not involved in public work. But after I became a member of the group, I began to feel myself as part of the community, because the community security working group worked on very sensitive and topical issues of today, and seeing the good results of our work made us more motivated. Of course there are other points, for example we would like to have more money to work on a broader level. I'm worried about my future but still hope for the best. There is a poor social situation in our country; the growth of corruption and instability in politics makes me think about the future".
Bazar-Korgon, located in the Jalal-Abad district in the south of Kyrgyzstan, was severely affected by the violent clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks that shook the country in June 2010. During the violence fifteen people were killed and 205 buildings destroyed, following the eruption of deep-seated inter-ethnic hostility and the inability of law enforcement agencies to maintain order. Today, people rarely speak about ethnic tensions; however mistrust persists, both between ethnic groups and between communities and government and police employees, who are perceived as taking inadequate measures to address inter-ethnic problems. Local people are particularly worried about tensions among young people; in 2013, there were more than four cases of fighting between youth in Bazar-Korgon, whose population is predominantly ethnic Uzbek, and the neighbouring village of Jeti-Koshkon, a predominantly ethnic Kyrgyz village.
Saferworld and local partner, the Foundation for Tolerance International (FTI), have been supporting the Bazar-Korgon Local Crime Prevention Centre (LCPC) to address inter-ethnic tensions within the community since 2012.