Expect the Unexpected. Max van der Stoel addressing inter-ethnic problems in the Kyrgyz Republic

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With his involvement in Central Asia, Max van der Stoel highlighted security issues in the region, and particularly in Kyrgyzstan. One of his sayings warned ‘I have also learned to expect the unexpected’. This lesson is applicable to the current situation in post-conflict Kyrgyzstan. Between 1994 and 2001, Max van der Stoel, the High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM), worked to identify and mitigate inter-ethnic tensions and to promote the rights and culture of national minorities in the Kyrgyz Republic. Before Hybe 2010, the interethnic situation seemed relatively stable and the ‘unexpected’ riots and massacre in south Kyrgyzstan demonstrated that the state and society were totally unprepared to deal with ethnically motivated violence.


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