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April 8, 10

NEWS / Ban dispatches special envoy to Kyrgyzstan after violent uprising

8 April 2010 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today dispatched a special envoy to Kyrgyzstan, which has been rocked by bloody unrest after demonstrations against the high cost of energy appear to have turned into an uprising against the Government.

Mr. Ban said he was sending Ján Kubiš, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), as his special envoy to the Central Asian country.

The Secretary-General, who visited Kyrgyzstan last week, has appealed for calm and deplored the violence which, according to media reports, has claimed the lives of more than 70 people and left hundreds of others injured.

At a news conference in Vienna today, Mr. Ban said he had, during his meetings with leaders in Kyrgyzstan last Friday and Saturday, urged them to uphold human rights and guarantee the freedom of speech.

“It was quite troubling for me to see that the TV media was closed just two or three days before my arrival, and I raised this issue, that freedom of media must be protected,” said Mr. Ban. “Human rights, I told them, are a bedrock principle of the United Nations and an engine of a country’s prosperity,” the Secretary-General added.

Mr. Ban also discussed recent events in Kyrgyzstan during a meeting today in Vienna with Werner Faymann, Austria’s Federal Chancellor.

“We agreed that, while we support the freedom of assembly, all the differences of opinion should be handled properly according to the rule of law and also respecting human rights, and we expressed our concern,” he said.

Kyrgyzstan’s opposition has, according to media reports, claimed that it has seized power after dissolving parliament. Roza Otunbayeva, the opposition leader, reportedly said an interim Government was in control and demanded that the President, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, step down.

Demonstrators protesting against the rising cost of heating fuel and electricity took to the streets yesterday in the capital, Bishkek, attacking Mr. Bakiyev’s offices and clashing with the police, who are reported to have opened fire on demonstrators as the protests escalated.




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