Community voices: Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyzstan
Alimyrza is a 15 year-old schoolboy from a Kyrgyz school in Bazar-Korgon in the south of Kyrgyzstan, involved in activities to address inter-ethnic tensions:
"After participating in sports events, I changed my mind about my peers from another nationality. Earlier we felt like strangers, we wouldn’t even greet each other. But at the event we played in mixed teams and we have established friendly relations. After the games we already, together with the Uzbek guys, organised a football match on our own initiative. Together with us were only PE teachers helping but we as children wanted to do it. I see these activities more like efforts to make children of Kyrgyz and Uzbek ethnicities interact with each other.
In the future I want to become a respected and influential man. I promised myself that when I grow up I will try to help people in our country live in friendship. I have new friends. I started to assess each person regardless of nationality. But most importantly, we established good contacts and now I will try to strengthen friendship."
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.