Community voices: Jalal-Abad, Kyrgyzstan
Dilfuza is a 15 year-old schoolgirl from an Uzbek school in the Jalal-Abad district of Kygyzstan involved in activities to address inter-ethnic tensions:
"I have been involved in Saferworld’s programme since the beginning of 2013. I participated in the festival of friendship and trainings, which were organised to establish relations between Kyrgyz and Uzbek youth. Frankly relations between young people of Uzbek and Kyrgyz nationalities have deteriorated in recent years. We didn't even greet each other, and we tried to avoid the guys from Kyrgyz nationality. Some of my friends were afraid of them. But in recent years the Community Security Working Group initiated several events in which I took part. Zamira, my teacher and a Community Security Working Group member, tries to involve us in all events aimed at peacebuilding. For the last two years I have had friends that are Kyrgyz, we have often started to communicate about interesting topics and my parents are also happy that we are friends.
I can confidently say that the activities are liked by all the children. Before we didn’t have these types of events and we really enjoyed these activities. Participating in the trainings and festivals helped us to appreciate the relationships that we have had for centuries between the nationalities. In schools unfortunately we rarely have cultural events so it was good for us to have the festival. In the future I want to become a doctor. I know that the doctor is the person who wishes only good and health. After school I want to study in Medical College and it would be great to go to study in the capital."
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.