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Uzbek Exodus Creating Bribery Bonanza

An Uzbek man surveys his destroyed home in the Cheremushki neighborhood of Osh in late July. (Photo: David Trilling)

Tens of thousands of Uzbeks, seeking relief from lingering insecurity, are leaving southern Kyrgyzstan. Some unscrupulous officials are profiting from the Uzbek exodus by making it bureaucratically difficult, and therefore expensive, to leave.

Almost two months after inter-ethnic rioting left hundreds dead and thousands homeless, a sense of stability remains elusive in southern Kyrgyzstan. In thoroughly documented reports, human rights groups and foreign diplomats have found that predominantly ethnic Kyrgyz security forces are unfairly harassing Uzbeks. [For background see EursaiaNet’s archive]. “The reasons why Uzbeks are leaving the country are obvious. They feel unsafe not only in the South, but in other parts of Kyrgyzstan as well. They see only one way out: leaving,” said Erik Iriskulbekov, a Bishkek-based human rights lawyer who is investigating the causes and the effects of the June violence. [For background see EurasiaNet’s archive].

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Uzbek Exodus Creating Bribery Bonanza

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