For over 20 years now, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the two poorest republics to emerge from the Soviet Union, have failed to agree on the location of their border in the most densely populated parts of the Ferghana Valley.
There is a pile of neatly stacked bricks in the corner of Tokhtokhan’s yard, placed there by helpful neighborhood boys. Her home in central Osh, destroyed during last year’s ethnic violence between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, is ready to be rebuilt. But work is at a standstill because her reconstruction hopes have run up against redevelopment plans being pushed by city officials.
A year since ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan left over 400 Kyrgyz and Uzbeks dead, the region, on the surface, seems to have returned to normal. But the two communities are struggling to restore mutual trust, with hopes for reconciliation bogged down in blame.
A year after ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan claimed over 400 lives, authorities continue a campaign of torture and injustice against minority ethnic Uzbeks, say two international watchdogs marking the one-year anniversary of the bloodletting. Bishkek’s failure to address the discrimination could rekindle violence, warn Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
Ask one of the million-plus ethnic Uzbeks living in Tajikistan how bad life is and he’ll quickly admit: It could be worse. Looking across the border into Kyrgyzstan, many give thanks they have been spared the pogroms suffered by Uzbek communities there twice in the last generation.