Response to Report on the Progress of the Community Security Initiative in Kyrgyzstan by Ambassador Markus Mueller

As delivered by Ambassador Ian Kelly
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
May 31, 2012

The United States warmly welcomes Ambassador Markus Mueller back to the Permanent Council, and we thank you for your excellent report.

The United States congratulates you and your team of international police consultants for your hard work and dedication.  The Community Security Initiative (CSI) has done much of what the Permanent Council asked of it—to work with Kyrgyz police to build capacity; to help prevent ethnic violence; and to create trust between police and people throughout Kyrgyzstan, especially in the south.  Nonetheless, it remains clear that serious challenges remain—these challenges are both institutional and political.

As we said when Ambassador Tesoriere made his final report to the Permanent Council last month, the United States is proud to contribute to CSI.  Since its inception, we have sent a total of eight police officers and donated two million dollars to help ensure the program’s success.  This is a measure of our deep commitment to the people of Kyrgyzstan and our confidence in the belief that long-term stability, economic vigor, and lasting democracy will flourish when Kyrgyzstan actively addresses its underlying ethnic tensions. We were pleased, therefore, to hear that CSI has become a part of the Human Rights Working Group and is part of a joint OSCE-Ombudsman-Civil Society project.

We are also pleased, Ambassador Mueller, that your report underscores that international police consultants have become trusted mentors to their police colleagues and are welcomed by citizens.  The Mobile Police Receptions operating in every area of responsibility have become an excellent symbol of the OSCE’s role and presence—reaching even to remote villages and towns.  The Community Safety Working Groups and Local Crime Prevention Centers also reflect the bright promise of cooperation among the many citizens who want nothing more than to live in peace.

Ambassador Mueller, the United States is also pleased that relations between the CSI and the Ministry of the Interior have improved, as seen by the agreement to co-locate a CSI advisor at the Ministry’s Headquarters and the agreement by the Ministry for the conduct of a baseline survey on current community/police relations.  We note your assessment that the progress attained through community policing training has been the most successful development in the CSI mission.  Such training has the potential to have a lasting effect in Kyrgyzstan for many years to come.

Unfortunately, the news is not all good, and the United States shares the concerns that your report today raises.  We find particularly troubling the apparent unwillingness on the part of the Ministry of Interior to bring minorities into Kyrgyzstan’s police services.  Especially problematic is the failure to address both past and ongoing human rights abuses by law enforcement authorities.  We concur that the creation of a national human rights mechanism to investigate reported cases of abuse, arbitrary arrests, extortion, or other human rights violations is a sound idea that should be implemented by Kyrgyz authorities.

The United States looks forward to receiving the results of the CSI’s self-evaluation as well as the findings by the Parliamentary Commission that looked at the CSI’s activities last year.  We know that the next several months will be crucial in developing the way ahead for CSI, and look forward to hearing the views of the Government, the Center in Bishkek, the SPMU and international police experts, as well.  We assure you, Ambassador, that CSI has the full support of the United States, and we wish you all the best for your future endeavors..

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.