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Kyrgyzstan: visiting ICRC president focuses on needs

29-06-2010 News Release 10/118

Geneva/Bishkek (ICRC) – The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Jakob Kellenberger, has just ended a one-day visit to Kyrgyzstan, where he met in the capital Bishkek with Roza Otunbayeva, the country's president for the period of transition, and Ruslan Kazakpayev, the interim foreign minister, and in the southern city of Osh with local authorities.

  ©ICRC/M. Kokic/kg-e-00171    
ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger and a delegate visit a heavily destroyed district of Osh in Kyrgyzstan.    
  ©ICRC/M. Kokic/kg-e-00171    
The ICRC is delivering relief goods for some 2,000 ethnic Uzbeks who recently returned to Bazarqurgan from Uzbekistan, where they sought refuge when fighting began in Kyrgyzstan.    
  More photos on Flickr: Kyrgyzstan: lives disrupted

  Read also: Kyrgyzstan/Uzbekistan: tensions persist as people start to return home, an interview with the ICRC's head of operations for Eastern Europe and Central Asia

" I discussed the humanitarian consequences of the recent violence with Ms Otunbayeva and asked her to grant the ICRC access to all persons arrested in connection with recent events, " said Mr Kellenberger. " We are very pleased to have been able to help when the crisis was at its peak, when we delivered food to nearly 180,000 people, and we are ready to continue our activities for as long as needed. In particular, we stand ready to visit places of detention to assess the conditions in which the people arrested are being held and the treatment they receive, and – in accordance with the ICRC's standard procedures – to share our findings with the detaining authorities on a strictly bilateral and confidential basis. "

From Osh, Mr Kellenberger went to the neighbouring village of Tashlak to take part in a distribution of humanitarian aid to host families and internally displaced people (IDPs). As in many other villages near Osh and Jalalabad, displaced people gathered in Tashlak when violence erupted. The ICRC is still providing food, tents and hygiene kits for those who remain displaced.

" Even if the situation seems to have calmed down, many people still need help, " said Mr Kellenberger at the distribution point. " I saw elderly women with tears on their faces queuing to get tents to set up for shelter next to their burned-down houses. In the streets of Osh you can see many houses and shops that are completely destroyed. It will take some time until people can again lead normal lives. "

The ICRC has been working since 1999 in Kyrgyzstan, where it visits detainees, promotes awareness of international humanitarian law and oth er humanitarian norms, and provides technical and financial support for the Red Crescent Society of Kyrgyzstan.

Since 2004, the ICRC has been working together with the authorities and other organizations to control the spread of tuberculosis among detainees. In 2007, a medical programme was introduced in a specialized prison hospital to treat detainees suffering from multi-drug resistant strains of the deadly disease.

  For further information, please contact:
  Christian Cardon, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 26 or +41 79 251 93 02
  Vassily Fadeev. ICRC Bishkek, tel: +996 772 03 08 42
  Pierre-Emmanuel Ducruet, ICRC Osh, tel: +996 77 20 22 610
  Yuriy Shafarenko, ICRC Moscow, tel: +7 9 03 545 3534